Howick Volunteer Coastguard ORACLE KEEL NIGHTMARE
Wednesday 14 November 2001
Hauraki horrors for Americas Cup challenger Oracle which joined the list of springtime casualties after another mishap on the Hauraki Gulf. Today the American syndicate snapped the keel off one of its boats during another wild and windy day on the Waitemata.
16 of the crew in the Oracle syndicate today had to give up the sailing practice, and try their hand at handling a submarine. USA 49 lost it's keel off the northern coast of Waiheke Island just before midday.
The Auckland coastguard immediately kicked off a major rescue operation. Auckland Coastguard Dean Lawrence says: "The vessel had lost its keel, but very quickly it was advised all the crew were accounted for."
Several private craft also joined the rescue, along with several other syndicates including Team New Zealand. Ironically for Oracle it's nothing new - in an eery coincidence it's almost exactly a year to the day since the Chris Dickson-skippered boat and it's keel last parted ways.
Howick Rescue 1 was then tasked to go and tow back to shore a runabout with engine troubles (after having to find it in the middle of the Firth of Thames).