Chilean Navy operating from Punta Arenas rescues Australian yacht skipper

Solo skipper Shane Freeman abandoned the Mushka yacht which has been scuttled to prevent a hazard to navigation, after being rescued by a Chilean Navy sea

The Chilean Navy rescued 61-year-old Australian skipper Shane Freeman after his yacht Mushka was knocked down and dismasted 300 nautical miles west of Chile. The Australian was on his way to the Sunday Times Golden Globe race’s start line in the UK in his Tradewind 35 class yacht when the incident happened on 18 February 2017.

This is his first major solo voyage. He has now abandoned the yacht, which has been scuttled to prevent a hazard to navigation, after being rescued by a Chilean Navy sea and air operation which included having him board the bulk carrier, Frontier Ambition.

Freeman is currently in Punta Arenas, extreme south Chile where on Sunday he underswent medical exams. He is scheduled to begin his journey back to Australia. His rescue involved the Chilean patrol vessel “Marinero Fuentealba” and a P-111 air patrol and the contacted bulk carrier.

The latest post on the Freeman Sailing Facebook page reveals Freeman’s rescue from Mushka was far from straight forward, especially as he had opened the seacocks to sink the vessel.

“The seas remained quite large but even so, the captain of the bulk carrier was able to come alongside the disabled yacht like he was “pulling up against a dock”. Lines were thrown down by the crew and Shane was able to get a number of bags of personal items up to safety,” said the post.

“Meanwhile, he tried to secure a line to Mushka and that didn’t succeed on the first attempt. So in order to stay alongside, Shane needed to start his engine, which he’d luckily managed to get running an hour or so earlier,” continued the post.

“Now with a cut cooling-water pipe as part of the boat flooding process, Shane willed the engine to run well for these last few minutes without coolant – and it did.”

“Managing now to stay alongside, Shane finally got a foothold on a rope ladder that he said was moving up and down about four meters. After a precarious climb, he was on deck.”

There are less than 17 months to go until the start of the 50th anniversary edition of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.