Pancake Creek in a northerly..

Tips to other sailors. Or just a great spot for a visit.
Jim
Posts: 691
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 8:25 am
Location: Cairns

Re: Pancake Creek in a northerly..

Post by Jim » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:24 pm

Pretty much the same up here in the North. We have S/E anchorages and then we have Northerly anchorages, and it makes for a fairly ordinarily stopover if you get it wrong. Probably the same everywhere.
Jim.

puremajek
Posts: 749
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 7:36 pm
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Pancake Creek in a northerly..

Post by puremajek » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:23 pm

Really sad to see.

Not sure radar would have helped either. When the pressure is on, trying to positively identify small blips in a swell on a screen at night with elements (swell, wind, noise, rain, turbulence, lightening, close to land, trying to use VHF, distress calls etc) all against you, while steering a yacht, would be very challenging. I use radar every day and when the weather is against you, it becomes a secondary screen with an occasional glance to pick the big stuff.

Take a pat on the back 44c for your efforts.
James
______________________________________________
http://www.diycatamaran.com
http://www.puremajek.com
______________________________________________

44c
Posts: 1146
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:08 am
Location: Hervey Bay, Qld

Re: Pancake Creek in a northerly..

Post by 44c » Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:40 am

puremajek wrote:Really sad to see.

Not sure radar would have helped either. When the pressure is on, trying to positively identify small blips in a swell on a screen at night with elements (swell, wind, noise, rain, turbulence, lightening, close to land, trying to use VHF, distress calls etc) all against you, while steering a yacht, would be very challenging. I use radar every day and when the weather is against you, it becomes a secondary screen with an occasional glance to pick the big stuff.

Take a pat on the back 44c for your efforts.
Thanks. We have had people criticize our efforts, in that we put ourselves at risk for no gain, as we didn't manage to rescue them. And maybe if we'd known in advance (not everyone knows everything in advance) that we'd be unsuccessful, I guess we wouldn't have tried.

But we didn't know if we'd succeed until we tried. We had to at least try.

terryk
Posts: 320
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:37 pm
Location: Gosford

Re: Pancake Creek in a northerly..

Post by terryk » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:56 pm

You will find out any outcome if you DON`T try !! At least you had ago!!
Cheers
terryk

sweetwater
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: Pancake Creek in a northerly..

Post by sweetwater » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:31 pm

I came across this post by accident when I was looking at some pictures of Pancake Creek a while back. I was one of the crew on the VMR vessel Gladstone One, that responded to the distress call from the 44' yacht "Seasprint", that ran aground that night at the entrance to Pancake Creek. Passage from Gladstone that night was very uncomfortable as we were trying to beat out 24 to 26 knots given the urgency of the situation and conditions in the channel weren't very good. On the way, we would witness an incredibly spectacular light show from the electrical storm that appeared to be coming in from the West. We were communicating with our radio operator back in Gladstone and heard the transmissions to 44c and their valiant efforts to reach the stricken yacht. On arrival near the entrance channel, we could really appreciate the smart decision to turn back and return to your vessel given the conditions. When we were visual with the yacht, the crew were still up in the cockpit and the yacht was rocking violently from side to side, stuck between the rocks with it's bow facing the ocean. The constant flashes of lightning made the sight even more spectacular, if not ominous! Not long after arriving, we experienced electrical issues with one of our outboards and our skipper made the decision to withdraw away from the rocks and swell, to sort it out. The last thing we needed, in those kinds of conditions, would be to lose both engines so close to the shore. The crew of the yacht, with no way of communicating with us, apparently thought we were calling the rescue off and made the decision to abandon ship onto the rocks. After some fault finding, the engine issue was sorted, now.....how to rescue two survivors off rocks, at night, in a storm and with breaking waves. Initially, we launched our inflatable tender and by myself, I would make a recce to see where we could extricate the crew from. With the Northerly still blowing, there was simply no safe area to land the tender. I returned to the rescue vessel and we quickly came up with plan B. With another crew member on the tender, we 'rode in' and positioned ourselves behind the red beacon, slung a rope around the pole and let the tender slide backwards with our bow into wind. The waves at this point were about 1.2 to 1.5 meters and our skipper would later comment that he would lose sight of us as the waves rolled in. After several attempts, we managed to throw a life ring to one of the crew, who dived in off the rocks, so we could pull him in to us. When we got the elderly man on-board, he commented that his partner had injured herself on the slippery rocks. She didn't appear to want to move at this point, and it was then that I would make the decision to swim into her with the life ring. After climbing out of the surf and up onto the rocks, she eventually made her way to me. She assured me that she could still swim ok and, after counting the breakers, I gave her a gentle shove and holding onto her lifejacket, we dived in and swam. My partner Mick, in the tender, was still holding our heaving line, that was wrapped around the beacon and with his other hand, he pulled the life ring in with the female survivor hanging on. It was a super effort from him, particularly in the breaking surf. By the time we got to the tender, Mick was about spent, in terms of fatigue. I asked the woman if she could hold the side of the tender, as it was just to hard to get us both in with the tender heaving up and down in the waves and Mick still holding the line around the beacon. With myself behind her hanging on to the side, I told Mick to 'give it to it', on that, he let go of the heaving line and gunned the engine on the tender, to get through the breaking surf. By this point, we were all so exhausted, it was easier to keep hanging on to the tender until we reached our mother vessel. A while later, as we started motoring away from Pancake Creek and back to Gladstone, I was sitting on the back of the deck and had a quick chuck over the side, not sure if it was all the saltwater I'd swallowed or the adrenaline from what had just happened.
For me, that would undoubtedly be the most awkward, if not hairy, rescue I would ever be involved in. It was a good feeling to have the two crew safe on-board though. Sad to see such a good looking yacht in those circumstances and later, it's total loss.
As you described in your initial post, how a nice day can, in a short while, turn into the stuff of nightmares, this was one of those days indeed!
From myself, and no doubt, the rest of our crew, thanks for your efforts that night 44c.
Regards
David S

44c
Posts: 1146
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:08 am
Location: Hervey Bay, Qld

Re: Pancake Creek in a northerly..

Post by 44c » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:58 am

Just saw this today! Thanks for posting, and many thanks to you and all the volunteers who sometimes risk so much to help others.

Post Reply