|Herkules Atlantic Challenge
As many of you will know we had to abort our
Atlantic Rowing Challenge on Saturday 6 March in
the early morning. Having left
We would like to express our gratitude to the
crew of the Salvamar EL Puntal and to everyone
at Tarifa Traffic. We would also like to thank
the Gibraltar Port Authority for offering to
bring us and the boat back to
We had set our minds into this crossing. It will now be impossible to take up the challenge until the autumn. We will therefore take some time to consider our options.
Finally we would like to thank all our family, friends, well-wishers and sponsors who have shown great support.
A copy of our ship’s log is set out below for further information.
SIGURD HAVELAND JULIAN BELLIDO
Friday 5th March
We never expected so many friends, family and acquaintances to wish us farewell. It was an incredible experience filled with emotions. We will never forget this moment for the rest of our lives. What had we done to deserve this!
Approximately 2 hours after high tide we set of
from the Mediterranean Rowing Club to
We reach our first waypoint – 1nm south of Punta Canero. There is still another hour for slack tide. We decide to start crossing and benefit from the tide further into the crossing. It’s evident that the sea has not yet been influenced by the easterly winds; ideally the crossing should be on the second day of a levanter.
We don’t experience any slack or favourable tides. We are losing some longitude, but steadily advancing south. Easterly winds have now picked up and blowing at 20knots. Waves 2-2.5m
We can see the east side of the rock and we’re 9nm off our second waypoint –Faro Punta Cires. Sea remains the same
We reach 1nm WNW of Ceuta Port. Calm seas. Cloud cover 6/8. 8nm east of Faro Punta Cires.
We row west for 30’. We have been rowing
non-stop since leaving
The tide changed so we decided to make ready and lift anchor. Winds and an easterly swell start to increase and decide not to leave and stay at present position waiting until dawn for better visibility to continue with our plan. When anchoring we observed rocks and protruding coastline WSW from our position.
Saturday 6th March
We hear our rudder and some equipment on the weather deck have come loose. We secure equipment and fasten the rudder securely at 0 degrees.
Easterly winds 28-30knots. Conditions inside cabin are getting rough. Not able to write. Spirits are high and we are planning for the next day’s work.
Easterly winds increase to 33 knots. We Radio Trafico Tarifa for a weather update. We are informed that winds force 5-7 blowing from an easterly direction increasing later. Trafico Tarifa asks if we require assistance. We thank them for the offer and add that our anchor is holding fast and that we are OK.
We call Liam on his mobile and ask for a weather update on our position. One source is wrong the other informs us similar report to Trafico Tarifa. Lifting the anchor is now impossible. If we cut the line we lose a valuable piece of equipment critical to continue on our passage.
Winds easterly 41 knots, sea very rough; waves 4m+ and breaking, visibility very poor. GPS longitude shows that the anchor is losing bite. Conditions inside the boat are difficult; we’re being tossed around. Boat experiences 3 near capsizes. We are concerned of losing the boat.
We radio Trafico Tarifa and ask for assistance.
We are informed that a rescue launch from
Salvamiento Maritimo will be deployed from
We inform Liam that to save the boat we have initiated a rescue operation. We have aborted the challenge. Spirits are low. We then make our way to the forward cabin and grab our immersion suits in wait to be rescued.
We begin to see a yellow beacon 0.5nm from our bow closing on our position. We are instructed by Traficio Tarifa that they cannot see us and to start flashing a light to the direction of the launch. We do this but due to the large waves and poor visibility the launch sails past us and continues on a westerly direction. They turn around and under our directions locates us. They haul a towing line and we secure it to our bow eye before cutting loose our anchor. The distance to the rocks had shortened considerably.
Ship’s log closed
I have to add to the ship’s log that later we
were to find out that the port had been declared
closed before Salvamiento Maritimo were
deployed. Apparently the crew volunteered to go
out and search for us. If Salvamiento had had to
call for an air rescue we would have lost our
boat. We are relieved to be now in a warm hotel
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