Kwai salvages yacht “Blue Star”

Just as I was wondering how Voyage 47 could go by without “drama”, universe provided us with some action.

On our return from Washington Island we found a yacht anchored very close to our mooring in Fanning lagoon. After we were tied to the mooring, we advised the yacht to use the Sea Stewardship mooring to windward, so we would be out of each-others swing-room.
During the night several violent squalls passed overhead with a lot of rain and wind. During one of those squalls, the mooring-line of the yacht chafed through, sending the yacht adrift on the outgoing tide. Luckily “Blue Star” stranded on a favorable beach, on the spit of land North of the pass.
The yacht is owned by a 70 year old captain from Michigan, where all great sailors derive from (according to his statement). He has visited more than 70 countries with the yacht and did a circumnavigation “North to South”. Currently he is underway with two crew members from Hawaii to Fiji. What a way to get stranded in Fanning Lagoon.

In the morning our captain Carson mobilized boats and crew from our own vessel, from ‘adventure tourism’ Pegasus and a local Kiribati citizen called Kiritimati. Just before high tide we managed pulling the yacht off the beach. Next on the program was retrieving the two anchors. With the help of our crew in the barge this was done in a few minutes. Then something unexpected happened (it always does): the anchor rode was badly caught in the yacht’s propeller. We managed to get the yacht back under command by towing her with Kiritimati’s speedboat and two rhibs tied to both sides of the yacht.
Of course, something else unexpected happened (according to Murphy’s law). The towboat had a camera-man on board who was shooting footage with a drone. Because of difficulties with the drone, the boat stopped towing, and the yacht started to drift out to sea. Quickly, the Kwai barge was tied alongside and managed to maneuver the yacht back to it’s mooring. Our Kiribati free-divers helped to tie the yacht to the mooring (with a safety line this time) and free the propeller from the anchor line that was wrapped around it.