Irish Among Sailors Rescued From Sinking Yacht

Seven Irish sailors, including two from the north have been rescued from a sinking racing yacht after it struck rocks near Indonesia, the UK coastguard revealed today.

The Irish men and women were among 16 people on board the Cork Clipper which struck rocks off the island of Gosong Mampango in the Java Sea, 200 miles north east of Jakarta, on Wednesday. Those onboard were forced to abandon the vessel and make their way to the safety of nearby rocks to await rescue.

The incident occurred at around 8.00pm Wednesday. A competing yacht Team Finland reported that the vessel Cork Clipper had gone aground to Falmouth Coastguard. The Finish team remained in VHF radio contact with the stricken vessel.

Richie Fearon 29, from Derry, Northern Ireland, skippered the yacht, which was the Irish entry for the race,.

Among the crew were Sarah Boyle, 28, from Cork, Jacqui Browne, 49, from Co Kerry, Gavin Kelly, 35, from Abbeyfeale, Limerick, Kevin Austen, 26, from Dublin, Noreen Osborne, 32, from Belfast and Marco Giana, 37, from Co Cork.

The remainder of the crew are Sarah Bell, 44, from North Yorkshire, Sean Coote, 47, from Sunbury on Thames, Keith Hale, 50, from West Yorkshire, Michael Lewis, 31, from Derby, Orla Mellett, 30, from London, Alan Moss, 40, from Fareham, Hampshire, David Paton, 56, from Preston, Lancashire, Tie Wa Li, 28, from Ruislip, west London and Tania Dolinschek, 46, from Western Australia.

As winds were increasing, the crew abandoned Cork Clipper to a rocky outcrop. From there, they used the life rafts in to transfer to two of their sister vessels in the race. The California Clipper and Team Finland then each took eight of the stranded crew safely onboard.

The next port of call for the race vessels is in Indonesia in approximately 48 hours and 410 miles away, where it is believed they will be dropped off.

Falmouth Coastguard raised the alarm with the Indonesian authorities at the Maritime Rescue Centre in Jakarta as well as the Australian Maritime Rescue Centre in Canberra on Wednesday evening.

Both the Cork Clipper and Team Finland are 68 foot yachts taking part in the 35,000 mile Clipper Round the World Race. The ten strong Clipper fleet began the race on September 13th from Humber. This leg of the race is from Geraldton, Western Australia to Singapore.


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