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Problems befall stricken catamaran heading for Island

A brand new yacht on its maiden voyage to Bermuda struggled to reach the Island after it was stricken with mechanical failures.

The 90-foot catamaran

Sunshine moored in St. George's early yesterday, assisted by the Bermuda Yacht Services vessel

Line One.

A Maritime Operations spokesman said the new vessel was on its way for delivery from Bristol, Rhode Island when it developed persistant technical problems.

“The hydraulics on board failed for the master rigging, so they couldn't raise the main sail. Towards the last part of the journey both engines failed, so the vessel kept coming with the jib sail.”

The crew of eight experienced “a catalogue of failures” on board the yacht, including oil leaks and an unresponsive anchor, while dealing with stormy conditions.

Winds kept a steady 35 to 40 knots, with gusts of up to 50 knots, as the

Sunshine made its approach to Bermuda late Sunday.

“A vessel of that size was probably on the fringe of the capability of our pilot boat in St. George's,” the spokesman said.

Bermuda Yacht Services owner Mark Soares agreed it was lucky the yacht hadn't needed to be towed.

“They had been sitting a couple of days without hydraulic power for the main sail, and they were running ahead of deteriorating weather late Sunday. By first thing Sunday morning they'd also lost power to both engines. Originally they planned to take the yacht as far as north rock and get towered, but because of the conditions it wasn't good for our boat and crew.”

Mr Soares added that no mayday was sent.

The

Line One left St. George's to assist around 10pm Sunday and waited at the sea buoy area roughly seven miles offshore.

He said: “They got to us around 11.30pm and decided winds were favourable to sail into St. George's harbour. Our boat went ahead and piloted them in. With such a large, fast moving vessel we needed to take it under tow and get it safely anchored.

“At about 1am on Monday morning they moved up into anchorage, at which time they discovered the yacht's anchoring equipment had also failed. So with limited options we managed to secure her to one of the old US Navy moorings.”

The exhausted crew of the

Sunshine were unavailable for comment, and so far the cause of its equipment failures remains unknown.

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Published December 14, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 14, 2010 at 8:07 am)

Problems befall stricken catamaran heading for Island

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