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Bahamas: Caribbean 1500 Yacht on Reef and Crew Member Missing - Update

By Sue Richards last modified Nov 24, 2010 08:48 PM

Published: 2010-11-24 20:48:40
Topics: Rallies
Countries: Bahamas

Update from Caribbean 1500 website

Update: Noon ---- Steve Black has been notified by the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) today that “the conditions are not favorable for finding Laura Zekoll alive.” The search and rescue mission involving the US Coast Guard, the Bahamas Defense Force, BASRA, and local efforts since Saturday night has resulted in “no findings.” The US Coast Guard has suspended its activity. The BDF will suspend its activity today. BASRA will continue aerial surveys of the vessel and area. Our thoughts and prayers are with Laura's friends and family as well as the crew of Rule 62.

Posted 16 November 2010

Taken from the Caribbean 1500 Website

Monday, November 15
Update: 4:22pm: The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) continues the search for Laura.

Cruising Rally Association announces crew member search and rescue mission is continuing for sailing vessel Rule 62, crew member, Laura Zekoll.

Updated by Richard Ross at 3:30pm EST

November 15, 2010…Cruising Rally Association (CRA), Hampton, VA
Steve Black, owner of Cruising Rally Association, announced today that crew member, Laura Zekoll from Atlanta, GA is the subject of a search and rescue mission by the US Coast Guard and the Bahamian Defense Force.

The news of the search was received by CRA mid-day on Sunday, November 14, 2010 from boat owner, Richard Ross. The emergency contact information for Laura Zekoll, was communicated to the Coast Guard who notified her contact that a search was in process. The notice of the search was shared with the fleet on Monday morning, during the radio check-in at 07:00 hours AST (Atlantic Standard Time).

The owners of sailing vessel Rule 62, Richard and Debra Ross, also from Atlanta, GA, communicated earlier that they had made a decision to leave the fleet and divert to the Bahamas. During the radio check-in on Saturday at 19:00 hours AST, Richard reported a position near the Bahamas. According to the satellite transponder provided by the CRA to each vessel in the fleet, Rule 62 had stopped moving when the transponder reported at 20:56 hours AST Saturday, November 13.

Black said, “with great sadness, we report that Rule 62, a Jeanneau 46DS, was swamped while attempting entry into the Bahamas. Richard and crew Laura Zekoll were washed overboard and recovered. The life raft was launched. Richard, Debra, Laura, and a fourth crew member, David Sheppard from Ellsworth, Maine entered the life raft with life jackets on and attempted to row it to safety. The life raft subsequently overturned in swells. Richard, Debra, and David were separated from Laura and washed up on the beach. The search for Laura Zekoll is still continuing.”

The boat is currently on a reef in the Bahamas. Richard and Debra Ross and Sheppard were airlifted to safety after their emergency signal was received by the Coast Guard.

The sailing vessel Rule 62, is part of a fleet of 71 sailing vessels, the majority of the fleet is still at sea. The fleet departed Hampton, VA on November 8, 2010 in route to the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This is the 21st year of the annual passage.