Great Circle Sails to the Rescue

23 May
Esprit de Corps IV (EDC) – the boat that came to the rescue of Monterey
Ok that attention grabbing headline is a bit of click baiting to get your interest in this story. To be exact it was a boat that has new Great Circle Sails that went to the rescue last week of another yacht during the Antigua to Bermuda race. Esprit de Corps IV (EDC) is a Volvo 60 and they were sailing north on a clear moonlit night when ahead of them they saw a flare go off.

“It was perfect sailing conditions,” Gilles Barbot, the skipper of Esprit de Corps IV told me. “We were sailing into 10-15 knots in a reasonable sea state when all of a sudden we saw a flare and knew that someone was in distress. We were not sure if it was a fire or injury or what it was but our crew immediately went into rescue mode. We changed our course and motored as fast as we could toward where we had seen the flare.”

The boat that had fired off the distress flare was a Farr 56 named Monterey. They too had been enjoying the pleasant sailing conditions when one of their crew heard a loud bang. They thought nothing of it until watch change a half hour later when Les Crane, the skipper, came on watch and decided to investigate the bang. He found the forward head full of water but was able to drain it. He then dug a bit deeper and found water under the galley floorboards as well as under the floorboards in the saloon. It was suddenly very clear to him that they were in trouble.  “I got everyone up,” Crane said. “And while I was trying to figure out what the problem was, the crew used the YB (Yellow Brick) Tracker player to locate Esprit de Corps IV which was about four miles behind us.” There was no response from EDC on the radio and that was when the skipper decided that they would need to send off a flare.

Monterey at the start of the Antigua to Bermuda Race

Monterey was rapidly filling with water and despite the best efforts of the crew they were not able to find out where the water was coming into the boat. “I was worried about some of us getting stuck in the cabin if the boat went down quickly”, Crane told a packed news audience in Bermuda. “There was no way to find out where the hole was and the water was rising rapidly. Luckily we saw that EDC had changed course and was heading our way.

Barbot and his crew approached and saw that the crew were already in the life raft. They were able to get alongside and shortly thereafter all six crew members from Monterey were safely on board the Canadian yacht. Their very pleasant night on the water had instantly turned into a nightmare and from the safety of EDC the crew watched their boat sink. “We have had the boat for 14 years and we’ve sailed 40,000 miles in her, but there was nothing we could do,” Crane said. “Nothing.”

EDC went on to finish the race with six extra crew on board and were happy and relieved that they had been able to assist. The moral of this story?  If you want to be a good Samaritan you need to buy some Great Circle Sails for your boat.

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Brian Hancock – owner Great Circle Sails

This article was syndicated from Great Circle Sails Blog


  1. Dan O'Brien

    No one thinks its bad for a sailmaker to advertise that his sails were aboard a boat that won a race and brought home a pickle dish. So why not crow that the sailors on a boat with your sails aboard not only had th sense to choose you as a sailmaker, but were competent seaman and gentlemen as well? I suppose the fact that the other boat was 4 miles ahead says something too. Lot’s of messages here if you care to look.

  2. Bruce Conron

    Perhaps Monterey was yet another victim of effinjay – flotsam and jetsam – the floating debris field that has sadly become a rash on the seaways of the world. The disabling or worse of ocean racers and cruisers this way seems to be as much a threat as collision with freighters.

  3. Popeye

    Another absolute disgrace of a captain of a ship not knowing the vessel inside and out! What a shame! Nice warm water and he couldn’t stay below and figure out most likely a simple through hull or hose connection! Absolutely a shame as a captain.

  4. Bob Talbot

    Will they attempt to ascertain the cause of the sinking? Glad to hear there were no injuries. Sorry for the loss of a beautiful boat.

  5. Harv Hauschildt

    Good job on both ends, so very sorry about the loss of your vessel but pleased all will live to sail again.

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