Tue 7 Jul 2009 11:09
43 26.71 N 59 50.87 W
As Flamingo Lady Progressed slowly downwind towards the Azores, the piece and quiet of the afternoons light airs, was broken by a low flying
aircraft. Shortly after there was a VHF call from the rescue plane 310 to the vessel Ocean Adventure, but no answer was heard. A while after
that, the Ocean Adventure Radioed the aircraft and asked why a parachute had been dropped. The reply was that they had dropped a radio
because there was no response to their calls on channel 16 or 14.
During the ensuing conversation it became apparent that an abandoned yacht had been found and efforts were being made to identify her.
Initial description from the ship was that it was covered with decals and had the number 28, however he gave the name as Vijaya, much to our
surprise as I had immediately thought of Gianfranco. There was a lot of too and frowing with the rescue aircraft asking for details and
specific information. The ship's skipper then said that he had been onboard and there was no life raft or lifejackets, but he had recovered a
laminated sheet headed OSTAR2009 Communications instructions. From this sheet he had concluded that comms ident number 28 referred to the
vessel and had concluded that it was a yacht named Vijaya.
At this point I called the Rescue aircraft on ch16 and explained that as a competitor in the ostar 2009 I had that list, and was sure that
the 28 on the hull referred to was in fact the sail number of Citta Di Salerno (comms no 29) and explained the numbering system and the
fact that the yacht had been abandoned. There followed more communications with the ship and they were now able to identify both Gianfranco's
name and also the name and yacht type amongst the writing on the hull, as well as OSTAR2009 and other important details.
I understand that Citta Di Salerno is being towed to the port of Sambro Nova Scotia and will arrive tomorrow (7th July) after dark.
It was interesting that someone who knows little or nothing about yacht racing, finding a yacht covered with I assume Italian wording which
he cannot read, can make so easily make the wrong assumptions: and how difficult it is for rescue centre to ask what are non leading
questions to clearly establish the identify of the abandoned yacht.
It also reminds me that out here passed Sable Island not only are there fishing and oil rigs that show up on radar in poor visibility and dark
nights but the occasional unmarked hazard such as an abandoned yacht. I should have been aware that it was here but had not thought about
its existence but when an found yacht was mentioned I knew who she was and was with in 20 miles of her position. I was eth luck of the wind
that we did not find her.