Yacht Air Apparent: Lack of Seamanship results in Mutiny

by OldSailor on March 28, 2008

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Bill Heritage who has been skipper of Yacht Air Apparent for the last 15 years had to abandon the ship due to mutiny by the three member crew. The 7.9 metre yacht was sailing from Auckland to Nelson and started facing rough weather and rough seas.

What happened there after ?

  • due to bad weather
    • ships crew experienced seasickness
    • engine failure and total power failure
    • battery gone dead
    • manual cranking of engines failed
    • communication equipments failed
    • all instruments failed
    • could not anchor the yacht
  • ships crew experienced fatigue and felt unsafe at sea
  • having no other options, the crew activated emergency locater beacon for rescue against the wishes of the skipper
  • maritime rescue helicopters successfully rescued the crew and the skipper.
  • $24,000 yacht was abandoned at sea
  • cost of rescue operation is more than $20,000

Now, the skipper is planning to sue the ships crew to recover the cost of the yacht. The rescue team is of the view that with good seamanship the yacht could have been saved.

Click here for some photographs of the skipper and ships crew.

Click here for some lessons on seamanship.

Was it a mutiny by the ships crew ? Readers can comment.

Update: May 28

RCCNZ has sighted yacht Air Apparent drifting about 210 nautical miles (389km) off North Cape. As the skipper Bill Heritage has already received insurance claim, the decision to salvage lies with insurance company. Read more from nzherald.

Update: October 12

A 7.9 metre yacht was discovered south of Norfolk Island by French Navy patrol ship La Moqueuse on a trip from Noumea to Nelson last week. She looked like a ‘ghost ship’.

The ‘ghost ship’ floating around the Pacific Ocean has been now identified as Yacht Air Apparent, the vessel from Nelson, New Zealand, that was abandoned after her crew mutinied. The yacht was found over 800 nm (1500km) from where she was abandoned. Read more from Sail-World.

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