Sheryll Grobler, NSRI Port Elizabeth duty controller, said:
At 12h26, Saturday, 25th August, while our NSRI duty crew were on the water doing routine training exercises aboard the sea rescue craft JLT Rescuer and Spirit of Surfski IV, our NSRI crew noticed sailing dinghies taking part in a South African Sailing – Eastern Cape Provincial regatta appearing to be in difficulty when an unexpected wind squall picked up suddenly while the regatta was underway with 29 sailing dinghy’s between 1 and 2 nautical miles off-shore of Kings Beach.
Our NSRI crew diverted the 2 sea rescue craft to investigate and at the same time the Sailing Regatta safety officer, seeing that NSRI were in the vicinity, he raised the alarm, requesting NSRI’s assistance to assist their 5 safety boats, that were deployed at the regatta, and confirming that some of the sailing dinghy’s were in need of assistance.
Strong winds had been forecast for later in the day but a wind squall with 29 knot South Westerly winds had suddenly appeared unexpectedly earlier in the day causing some of the sailing dinghy’s in the regatta to get into difficulty.
The 5 regatta safety boats, from SA Sailing and from Algoa Bay Yacht Club, and the 2 NSRI rescue craft, were able to corral all of the sailing dinghy’s getting them all safely to shore.
Only one 11 year old child had suffered a minor bump to his head and was brought safely ashore aboard a sea rescue craft and his sailing dinghy was recovered and no medical attention was required.
At 15h00 all sailing dhingies and their sailors were safely ashore and accounted for and no further assistance was required.
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