NSRI Station 8 in Hout Bay Harbour,South Africa
Front page news,the day after the storm and the loss of Gulliver of Knysna,the newspaper is the local language Die Burger.
Gulliver is washed up the rocky shore,a total wreck,to be sold as she was to Charles Copping,who stripped her with friends between the tides over the next few days,all that was then left was the boats hull and deck structure,she was then sold on and later removed with some difficulty by a team of proffesional riggers Tandem Rigging,they camped for the best part of a week to work between the tides,eventually they had the hulk close enough to the mainland to lift her clear with a large crane.
The front cover and the rescue is the main topic,the orginal painting hangs behind the NSRI refreshments bar at station 8,Hout Bay.
This story is largely unknown,excepting by the local community,plus the men and families involved,its worth a reminder that we are lucky,seriously lucky to have a sea rescue service in place in South Africa,the local station in Hout Bay,is named Station 8,here is one of their stories:
A wild northwester was sending mountainous swells crashing shorewards off the southwestern Cape coast on 15 May 1986. The yacht Gulliver, en route from Knysna to Cape Town for a round-the-world trip, was making heavy weather as she headed towards Slangkop light near Kommetjie. With four persons aboard, Gulliver was heading for the sanctuary of Hout Bay when she was caught by a massive breaking wave some two nautical miles off shore.
The wave pitched and rolled the yacht, hurling the skipper overboard. Fortunately he was wearing a harness.The lighthouse keeper had picked up a distress call from the yacht and the Port Captain sent out an urgent call to the duty crew of Station 8.
Within 10 minutes, Coxwain Peter Braham and his crew were launching the eight-metre rescue boat, Spirit of Mobil, and heading for the stricken vessel.With Station Commander Ken Brady assisting from a mobile vehicle ashore, the lighthouse keeper was asked to illuminate the area where the boat had gone over by keeping the Slangkop light trained on the vessel.
Spirit of Mobil could not approach the casualty directly because of rocks between them and the yacht, so they instructed the crew to get into their liferaft and bear away from the yacht. The rescue boat came in between the breaking swells and pulled the crew aboard.
While Spirit of Mobil was heading out to sea with the casualties aboard, a massive wave broke over her. Some of the crew were knocked back against the transom. The coxwain fractured two ribs and his deputy a severe cut on the head.But the crew of Gulliver were safe and Spirit of Mobil entered Hout Bay Harbour with all lives intact.
Later the coxwain and crew were awarded the NSRI Director's Letter of Thanks for their bravery.