Yesterday, Golden Globe Race organizers announced a “Code Red” situation for skipper Ian Herbert-Jones, whose EPIRB was activated in the midst of a massive south Atlantic storm with winds gusting in the high 80s and a sea state of around 20 feet. He was sailing the Tradewind 35, Puffin, in the solo around the world race, which requires that sailors only use technology that was available during the initial edition of the Sunday Times Golden Globe over 50 years ago.
A call to race HQ shortly before the EPIRB was activated revealed that he was hand-steering on bare poles, and being knocked down often, with a significant amount of water belowdecks. The call was dropped, then briefly re-established a few minutes later. Herbert-Jones told race organizers that he’d been washed out of the cockpit twice and could not launch his drogue because the cockpit hatch was underwater. In the time between the two calls, he activated his EPIRB due to concerns that he would not be able to reestablish contact with the race organizers.
The conditions were expected to remain the same for five more hours, but despite the harrowing waves and wind, the boat was still sound.
Then Herbert-Jones missed the scheduled one-hour check in with race organizers. Nearly two hours after he first let organizers know of his situation, a manual distress signal onboard Puffin was activated.
Argentina’s Main Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) was called in to manage the search and rescue effort.
Herbert-Jones’ campaign Facebook page reported: “UPDATE – Ian has made contact with GGR – Puffin rolled, she is dismasted, he has injured his back and it’s hard to move, there’s 2ft of water in the cabin, the situation is worsening and he needs a weather break to cut the rig free………we are waiting further updates via GGR from MRCC who are coordinating the rescue – we’re all with you Ian.”
The Thai fishing vessel ZI DA WANG and five others were diverted to assist with the search.
Despite his injuries, Herbert-Jones managed to stop the water ingress and secure the boom, though the mast was still over the side.
A short while later, the Golden Globe Race Facebook page posted the following:
“UPDATE: IAN HERBERT JONES !! IS ON THE FISHING VESSEL ZI DA WANG. He was recovered at 1845 UTC today. He is battered and bruised with scrapes and scratches, some back pain, but he is very happy to be with the crew. The master of the rescue ship moved straight into a recovery operation in the 25k wind and 4 mtr sea as soon as they were on scene. Congratulations to all the personnel, ships, government agencies involved over the past 30 hours who have displayed complete professionalism, dedication and passion in continuing one of the strong traditions of the sea. Ian has access to a satellite phone and we hope to hear from him very soon. The ship is believed to be headed to CAPE TOWN. #GGR2022
The GGR wish to thank the SAR Puerto Belgrano in Argentina and the MRCC Taiwan for an exemplary international coordination of Ian’s rescue, as well as the shipowner, masters and crew of the F/V Zi Da Wang and the F/V Fa Da Cai and Yuh Sheng N°1. and the MV Lilibet, MRCC UK and GRIZ NEZ France were also on standby.”
Once safely aboard the ship Herbert-Jones was said to be in good spirits and sent a message to his followers, thanking everyone involved in his rescue and apologizing for the stress he caused.
For more on the Golden Globe, visit goldengloberace.com.