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Round the Island Race ~ hazard of the course

With hundreds of boats sailing past The Needles at the western end of the Isle of Wight, the hazards are not always obvious above the water.

The Du Bois designed Half Tonner Alchemist owned by the commodore of the Island Sailing Club sank after it hit a submerged shipwreck in Saturday’s JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island race.The owner Mark Wynter was not on board at the time of the incident.

She is believed to have hit the wreck of the SS Varvassi off The Needles, and sank in 17 metres of water.

The rescue of the crew and attempts to save the beautiful wooden yacht involved a rescue operation with RNLI crews from Yarmouth and Christchurch-based Mudeford, as well as The Needles coastguard rescue team.

Round the Island Race - Alchemist caught on a hazard of the course

Wrecks off The Needles – Goose Rock Red Circle far left, SS Varsassi Wreck three Red Circles right

In August last year a team set out on an exceptionally low tide, and headed for The Needles in search of the wreck of the Varvassi… and here’s the video – which shows the wreck, but also others of its ilk around the world, that are often only small notations on charts without any above water marker.

Round the Island Race - Alchemist caught on a hazard of the course

Last moments of the Alchemist taken from the RNLI video

Varvassi was a 3,875-ton Greek merchant steamship that was wrecked on The Needles rocks in 1947, carrying a cargo of tangerines from Algiers to Southampton. The ship became wrecked after an engine failure in stormy weather, and drifted onto the rocks. When an attempt was made to haul the ship off the rocks, she flooded and sank.

All 36 crew were rescued unharmed, as was approximately one third of the cargo of tangerines and wine.Round the Island Race - Alchemist caught on a hazard of the course

Of course there are several other wrecks and hazards around The Needles, which get ‘found’ again and again by top yachtsmen.

 

by Sail-World.com NZL

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