Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Erin raised from bottom of Bermuda’s Great Sound

By Talbot Wilson
Erin raised from bottom of Bermuda’s Great Sound
Check out the new event web site at

Tim Patton and his crew from Bermuda Marine Services rescued the J24 Erwin from the bottom of Bermuda’s Great Sound today. The boat sank Tuesday in Race 5 of the J24 Class competition in Bermuda International Invitational Race week.

Erin had been on the last leg of the last race on Tuesday. She was flying her spinnaker in a building 30-knot breeze. As the boat rounded up in a massive broach, she put her mast in the water and flooded the cockpit and cabin. The boat didn’t right herself and just sank to the bottom, sails and all.

No one was injured. Chase boats on the course picked up Lynch and his crew of Barry Surbuchen, Steven Musicant, Natalie Luthi, Tiffany Wardman as the floated near the mast of the sunken boat. Several racing boats diverted to render assistance as well.

A diver retrieved sails and personal items and the motor shortly after the sinking. About two feet of the mast was sticking above the water and Erin was standing straight up with her keel resting on the sandy bottom. She was marked with a buoy overnight.

Wednesday morning, Patton and crew took two work barges to the site. It was quite windy and the Great Sound had a two-foot chop, so after attaching a chain to the boat’s hoist ring they lifted the boat just off the bottom. Moving at about a half-knot, they took Erin into the lee of Long Island to get out of the wind and waves.

They couldn’t just lift the boat out of the water because the weight of all the water inside would have broken the boat in half. A diver positioned two straps under the boat, one in front of the Keel and one behind it. the winches on the two barges lifted Erin so her deck and cockpit companionway were just above the water.

They lowered a high capacity pump into the cabin. As the water was pumped out, the boat rose out of the water.

Erin was back at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club marina by 2:00PM Wednesday afternoon. When racing in Bermuda International Invitational Race Week resumes on Thursday Erin will race again.

A low North of Bermuda is bringing a series of troughs over the area Wednesday. Winds will be strong to near gale force with gusts to gale force, especially in showers. High pressure builds in on Thursday easing winds and seas. The Forecast for Thursday is WNW 18-22kts and Friday WNW 15-20kts.

Details, entry lists, results and photos will be posted on the RBYC web site: