Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dragon rescues 14 sailors from ocean racing yacht, Clyde Challenger after rogue wave leaves the crew stranded in the Atlantic Ocean for 48 hours
The Clyde Challenger, a first generation Clipper 60 ocean racing yacht was on her way back to the UK from the Azores when disaster struck on the 9th February 2017. In tough conditions a rogue wave struck the racing yacht, snapping the mast and leaving the crew of 14 stranded hundreds of miles from land. After an emergency beacon signal alerted the UK Coastguard to her distress an RAF C130 Hercules helicopter was despatched and located the yacht. Several passing merchant vessels attempted to assist but despite their efforts were unsuccessful.
HMS Dragon who was on a routine exercise was soon alerted to the situation and responded expeditiously, diverting 500 miles off their original course to the aid of the Clyde Challenger. On arrival the Destroyer’s rescue boats were deployed and successfully rescued all 14 crew members who thankfully are now safe and uninjured due to the rescue effort.
Once the crew were safely transferred on board HMS Dragon, the difficult decision was made to abandon the Clyde Challenger to the sea as the damage incurred by the wave was too much to overcome.
The Clyde challenger was a distinctive vessel with a remarkable history. As a first generation Clipper 60 ocean racing yacht, she has accomplished four 40,000mile circumnavigations of the globe. On retiring in 2006 from the Clipper fleet, the newly branded Clyde Challenger began her life as a sail training vessel in Scotland where she was run by a team of dedicated volunteers.
Survitec Group was approached in 2015 by Clyde Challenger and supplied the yacht with essential safety equipment to meet the yacht’s MCA coding requirements, including 3 RFD Surviva A Pack SOLAS liferafts through the Global Services Liferaft Hire programme plus Crewsaver Fusion 3D lifejackets, safety lines and horseshoe buoys.
Photo Credit: The Royal Navy. Clyde Challenger crew deploy one of their RFD Surviva A Pack liferafts to enable a safer crew transfer during rescue by the HMS Dragon rescue team.
The Royal Navy (12/02/2017) Praise for HMS Dragon Crew after Rescue of Clyde Challenger. Available: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/february/12/170212-dragon-rescue-2
The Royal Navy (11/02/2017) Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dragon Rescues 14 Stricken Sailors from Damaged British Racing Yacht. Available: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/february/11/170211-dragon-rescue