Rally friends save catamaranJul 12, 2012
Damage to Ensemble's hull is repaired in American Samoa
Image courtesy Shadow van Houten
The Australian sailing web site, mysailing reports that when the catamaran Ensemble was sinking at Suwarrow Atoll in the Pacific, crew from 11 fellow rally boats in the WorldARC rally came to the multihull's assistance and prevented the boat from sinking. Ensemble owners Dave and Magali Waterhouse were on board Ensemble when the 45-foot Fountaine Pajot cat began to drag after the wind shifted during the night from southeast to northwest and increased to 25 knots.
Quick assistance from fellow rally members on other boats saved the cat, which had punctured a hull on coral and was taking on water. The cat's anchor rode was cut and tenders of other vessels towed the cat to deeper water and re-anchored. A bucket brigade was set up which removed most of the water. One of the other boats donated a high-capacity pump and it stayed ahead of the water as a collision mat was placed on the damaged hull.
The nearest site for repairs to Ensemble's hull was in American Samoa. Two rally sailors volunteered to sail with the Waterhouses on board Ensemble and the other rally vessels shadowed the cat to a safe arrival in Pago Pago. While it isn't for every voyager, it seems there are excellent benefits to sailing in a rally: like having your own damage control team on tap should something go awry.