rescueMe EPIRB1 Activated after Mast Breaks During Atlantic Crossing

wave decor
lives saved
Mechanical failure
Normal conditions
Rescue location
°S, °W
Rescue team
Local Search and Rescue
Rescue duration

What happened?

Along with two crew members, we embarked on our journey from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Martinique aboard our beloved 1986 Scanmar 33 sailboat. I remember the sun dipped below the horizon on the fourth day, casting an enchanting twilight upon the waves as we stood at the helm. Our boat glided gently downwind, the reefed headsail propelling us at about 5 knots, when an unforeseen catastrophe unfolded.

The calm of the evening was shattered by an ominous sound – a resounding snap that jolted our senses. Idun’s gaze fixated on the mast, which had begun leaning leeward. In disbelief, she called out to us, and together, we gathered in the cockpit. What we saw left us astounded and fearful: the mast had dramatically broken just above deck, its massive form now sprawled alongside the hull, mercilessly banging against it with the relentless rhythm of the waves.

In that instant, we knew we were in dire straits.

Swiftly, we set into motion a frantic but coordinated effort. With determination, we severed all lines, ensuring that everything ran free. Simultaneously, we activated the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacon), for we could not be certain whether the mast or other debris had punctured the hull. An arduous task lay ahead as we took a hacksaw to the bow, working to cut the forestay that still clung tenaciously. The shrouds on the remaining side, those on the windward flank, were released, and the mast descended into the abyss of the Atlantic.

Our course changed, now set back toward the Canaries, and we engaged the engine to propel us on our altered path. Idun reached for the satellite phone, dialed our emergency contact, who had already been alerted by the Norwegian Coast Guard. Moments later, Madrid’s rescue service contacted us, inquiring if we required assistance. After a thorough check of the hull’s interior, confirming it remained watertight, we were able to relay the message that the distress signal could be canceled.

In the midst of the ordeal, the rescueME EPIRB1, our beacon of hope, proved its worth. It worked seamlessly, prompting our emergency contact to act, and initiating a call from the Madrid rescue center. It was a reassuring reminder that even in the most harrowing situations, when the unexpected unfolds on the open sea, preparation and reliable equipment can make all the difference.

Prior to embarking on our Atlantic circuit, we had made a crucial decision – to acquire the Ocean Signal rescueME EPIRB1. It was an indispensable addition to our journey, a safety net that provided solace in times of turmoil. Despite not requiring assistance this time, we recognized the importance of this critical device. It had been our guardian in an otherwise perilous moment, a testament to its reliability and the comfort it offered during a trying situation.

Words of wisdom

“That was a very nice experience to have in an otherwise very scary situation”

Thank you note to the Ocean Signal team