2012 05 19- Sailing boat hits whale, crew abandon boat, no comments on health of the whale Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

Tim Smith of the Royal Gazetter in Bermuda reports:

The sailing boat Outer Limits struck a whale as it sailed from Bermuda to the Azores. The crew were rescued from their damaged boat by a container ship. The incidenmt occurred about 300 miles from Bermuda.

Four sailors were rescued by a container ship last night after their vessel smashed into a whale.

The 38-feet sloop Outer Limits was heading from Bermuda to the Azores as part of the ARC Europe event when it cracked its hull by striking the mammal at about 7pm.

The four crew members became concerned as the vessel took on water, and contacted Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre, which put out the call for assistance from other boats.

ER Melbourne, a merchant ship bound for Italy, picked up the sailors about 310 nautical miles east of Bermuda, at about 10pm.

"They were going to try to come back to Bermuda but the skipper decided, for the safety of the crew, to abandon the boat," said a spokesman for Bermuda Maritime.

"I don't believe anybody was hurt, but they had concerns they were taking on water. Now there's a 38-feet sloop bobbing around out there somewhere."

ARC Europe is an annual rally, organised as entertainment for sailors who spend the winter in the Caribbean and are taking their boats back to Europe and the Mediterranean, stopping at Bermuda and the Azores on the way.

According to ARC Europe's website, Outer Limits is a Hanse 370 sailing yacht and was to continue from Azores to Plymouth in the UK.