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article imageFrench yacht in S. African harbour after gale rolls it over

By Christopher Szabo     Nov 2, 2010 in World
Richards Bay - A French yacht has found safe harbour in Richards Bay, South Africa, after 60-knot gales rolled it over 200 nautical miles off the Mozambique coast. The boat limped into harbour Monday November 1.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said in a media release the yacht Huobo had been hit by extremely high winds. NSRI station commander at Richards Bay, Dorian Robertson described what happened:
“The NSRI Richards Bay volunteer duty crew were placed on alert following reports of the French yacht Houbo limping towards Richards Bay, escorted by the yacht Philigic, after enduring a battering in up to 60 knot gale force winds 200 nautical miles off the Coast of Mozambique since Friday morning and after being knocked down by waves and rolling 360 degrees sustaining extensive damage. “
Robertson said a ham radio operator, Roy Cook, in the port city of Durban, intercepted a distress call on the Ham Radio marine VHF monitoring frequency. Cook then contacted the Richards Bay NSRI station. Robertson said:
“The yacht Philigic (claimed) to have happened to come across two Frenchmen, on the yacht Houbo, in deep seas off Mozambique some 200 nautical miles off-shore. The crew aboard Houbo told their incidental rescuers that they had been capsized and rolled 360 degrees during Friday night sustaining extensive damage to their yacht with loss of batteries and equipment, loss of all radio antennae, waterlogged and unusable communication radios, contamination of drinking water, solar panels lost overboard, windows smashed out and lost, and a suspected bent mast, loss of all sails and loss food stocks lost overboard, after enduring harrowing gale force winds and rough seas while sailing off the Mozambique Coast.
Other yachts in the area avoided the gale:
“By sailing in the lee of the wind further out to sea but on Saturday, after the strong winds had subsided, Philigic continued on her voyage just to happen upon the distressed yacht by what can only be described as an incredible stroke of luck.”
The unfortunate Frenchmen, skipper Navaro Franc and Phillipe Massa, asked the crew of the Philigic for a spare sail and food. Robertson said:
Philigic, not having any spare sails, offered a spare battery, food and water, and also offered to accompany Houbo to Richards Bay. Neither of the two sailors were injured.
The NSRI rescue craft, Spirit of Richards Bay towed the battered yacht into the harbour. Robertson said the two were expected to stay in Richards Bay “for some time” to repair the yacht before carrying on the voyage.
At the time the release was issued, the NSRI was not aware of the destinations of either the Houbo or the Philigic.
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