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Fiji to New Zealand: J/111 Django abandoned due to rudder stock failure

By Andy Pilcher - forwarded by Dietmar Petutschnig — last modified Jul 09, 2014 01:24 PM
The 11 metre yacht Django was on a return trip from Fiji and 170 nautical miles (NM) north of North Cape when RCCNZ was alerted yesterday morning that it had issued a mayday call, picked up by Maritime Radio. The yacht’s rudder was becoming detached, putting the vessel in danger of sinking.

Published: 2014-07-08 23:00:00
Topics: Safety and Medical
Countries: Fiji , New Zealand

Fiji to New Zealand: J/111 Django abandoned due to rudder stock failure

© Django Racing

The following report from Andy Pilcher, 8 July 2014:

For those that haven't heard, I'm sorry to announce that Django Racing has been abandoned about 300 miles North of Auckland, on her way home from Fiji.

At approx 11:00am NZ Time this morning, in winds averaging more than 50kn and 5m seas, the rudder stock snapped between the two bearings, leaving the rudder swinging underneath the boat, trying to rip itself free. The crew sent out a request for assistance and set the Liferaft up, ready to deploy at a moments notice. The crew kept in touch with Maritime Operations throughout the day, via Satellite phone, and an Airforce Orion was sent out to do a flyover.

Fortunately the Navy Frigate "Otago" was in the region, and reached Django around 6:00pm this evening, when the crew made a hairy but successful transfer onto the Frigate.

We have talked to the crew on the Sat Phone and they're safe and well, albeit very relieved. I suspect that the reality of the situation may not have set it yet for them.

Ben Costello, the skipper, along with Bex Heilkema and Andrew Cooke, all responded exceptionally well and did everything they could have done. The boat was still floating when they transferred onto the Frigate, and the rudder had not yet sheared off, however large cracks were appearing around the area of the bottom bearings, so we don't know how long that will last.

The Frigate is heading directly back to Auckland and they should be safely back on land by midday tomorrow.

Read Maritime New Zealand report here.

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