Everything is OK

June 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

After storming round the Lizard, anchoring at St Agnes in Scilly for a 4 hour nap, being becalmed overnight and then a 36 hour upwind slog across the Celtic Sea I closed the Cork coast yesterday evening sadly 35 miles downwind of my hoped for approach to Fastnet Rock.

I had a problem with my main set vhf, my handheld vhf battery had died, I was in very poor visibility in f5/6 with a 2m sea and had had a near miss with fishing boat with his AIS turned off so was on high alert. I also suspected I had a rope around the prop (which I did) and didn’t want to start the engine.

But I was sailing in to Kinsale off the wind under jib only, and intended to anchor there and in calm water lift the outboard and check the prop and rudder.

However, in these challenging conditions and with fatigue I pressed the wrong button on the Spot tracker as I prepared for my aproach. I was meant to send “Somethings amiss. Diverting to nearest port. Don’t worry” as I was heading for Kinsale but instead pressed the button that sent “I need help, please call the coastguard” to my mother who duly did what we had prepared.

As we closed the coast my phone signal came back in and out and I had persistent phonecalls from an 066 country code. When the signal  eventually had enough strength to connect, it was the coastguard and I was horrified to discover both the lifeboat and helicopter had been launched, to which I was oblivious as I had no radio watch.

I gave my current position and within 5 minutes I had the SAR helicopter overhead and a Trent class alongside.

Of course, it was clear they couldn’t leave me there in fog with no vhf and I was taken under tow and brought 13 miles to Courtmacsherry and brought alongside to the flash of photographers.

The local news reported a few inaccuracies, but there’s a photo. See it here: http://www.thejournal.ie/rnli-rescue-woman-off-cork-2168573-Jun2015/

There’s clearly alot to think about here, but apologies to everyone who saw the spot message.

It goes without saying I am of course extremely greatful to the coastguards at Falmouth and Valentia and the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew and the speed of response was both stunning and heartening.

And sorry mum.

Had an amazing few days, and keen to set off again. Hoping to get to Baltimore very, very soon.