There was a dramatic rescue deep in the South Indian Ocean today.  The ship CSK Radiance, reached the stricken sailing yacht Hayai with singlehanded sailor Nico Budel on board and effected a flawless mid-ocean rescue. Budel, a 69 year old grandfather of five was racing the second leg of the Portimão Global Ocean Race when the lead bulb of his sailboats keel separated from the keel fin. While the bulb was still attached at the time of the rescue, and the boat was upright, the danger of the bulb coming loose and the boat capsizing was imminent. For the last three days Budel has been sailing north out of the Southern Ocean in an attempt to avoid violent storms that are forecast for the area. On Sunday night Hayai experienced storm force winds of 62 knots while Nico prepared to abandon ship.

“The conditions for rescue were not ideal,” said Race Director Josh Hall who along with MRCC Reunion, race assistant Alan Green, and the Captain of the CSK Radiance coordinated the rescue. “There was a seven metre swell running and a moderate wind of around 20 knots making it difficult to manoeuvre a ship the size of CSK Radiance alongside a small yacht. Clearly Captain Singson and his crew are highly experienced seamen and we thank them profusely for not only diverting to help Nico, but also for their skill and determination in pulling off a successful operation.”

Portimao Global Ocean Race at the time of rescue

Portimao Global Ocean Race at the time of rescue

The rescue brings to an end three days of high anxiety for Nico, his family, friends and the larger global community of Portimão Global Ocean Race fans who have been following every move. Their collective good wishes kept the keel bulb attached to the keel fin and the boat upright until CSK Radiance was on station for the rescue. Nico first noticed that the keel bulb had separated from the blade when the fastenings that run from the lead bulb to the top of the keel became loose. Upon further inspection it was clear that there was a major issue. He then observed that the bulb was at a 20 degree angle to the blade and could feel it banging around.

“I was very worried that the boat was going to capsize at any time,” Budel said in a satellite phone call from on board CSK Radiance. “I have been on deck for the last two days in my survival suit as I did not want to be trapped below. It has been a very emotional time but I am happy to be saved and grateful to Captain Singson and his crew. They have been very welcoming. Before I left the boat I opened up the seacocks and there was already a lot of water around the keel. I am sure that it will sink in a few hours.” The tracking device on board Hayai continues to send position reports and will do so until the boat goes down. Scuttling the boat is a prudent course of action to ensure that Hayai does not present any danger to maritime traffic.

Portimao Global Ocean Race

Portimao Global Ocean Race Nico Budel

Nico is hoping to be airlifted off the boat when the ship passes Cape Town. “I need to get back to Holland as soon as I can,” he said. “If I can find a boat in New Zealand that is suitable for this kind of race I will buy it and rejoin the fleet in Wellington. This is a great event with great people and I want to continue to be a part of it. If not this one, definitely the next one.”

Aside from the ships papers and his computer, the only thing that Budel salvaged from Hayai was a wooden plaque given to him by his father. “I have the plaque with me,” he said. “It will be fixed to the interior of my new boat as soon as I have one. I am very sad to lose this great boat that has already raced twice around the world, but at least I am safe and there will be another boat and another race.”


At 11:45GMT today there was a dramatic rescue deep in the South Indian Ocean. The 17,000 tonne bulk carrier CSK Radiance, having been diverted earlier in the week at the request of MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) Reunion, located the stricken yacht Hayai with skipper Nico Budel on board and effected a flawless mid-ocean rescue. Budel, a 69 year old grandfather of five was racing the second leg of the Portimão Global Ocean Race when the lead bulb of his keel separated from the keel fin. While the bulb was still attached at the time of the rescue, and the boat was upright, the danger of the bulb coming loose and the boat capsizing was imminent. For the last three days Budel has been sailing north out of the Southern Ocean in an attempt to avoid violent storms that are forecast for the area. On Sunday night Hayai experienced storm force winds of 62 knots while Nico prepared to abandon ship.

“The conditions for rescue were not ideal,” said Race Director Josh Hall who along with MRCC Reunion, race assistant Alan Green, and the Captain of the CSK Radiance coordinated the rescue. “There was a seven metre swell running and a moderate wind of around 20 knots making it difficult to manoeuvre a ship the size of CSK Radiance alongside a small yacht. Clearly Captain Singson and his crew are highly experienced seamen and we thank them profusely for not only diverting to help Nico, but also for their skill and determination in pulling off a successful operation.”

The rescue brings to an end three days of high anxiety for Nico, his family, friends and the larger global community of Portimão Global Ocean Race fans who have been following every move. Their collective good wishes kept the keel bulb attached to the keel fin and the boat upright until CSK Radiance was on station for the rescue. Nico first noticed that the keel bulb had separated from the blade when the fastenings that run from the lead bulb to the top of the keel became loose. Upon further inspection it was clear that there was a major issue. He then observed that the bulb was at a 20 degree angle to the blade and could feel it banging around.

“I was very worried that the boat was going to capsize at any time,” Budel said in a satellite phone call from on board CSK Radiance. “I have been on deck for the last two days in my survival suit as I did not want to be trapped below. It has been a very emotional time but I am happy to be saved and grateful to Captain Singson and his crew. They have been very welcoming. Before I left the boat I opened up the seacocks and there was already a lot of water around the keel. I am sure that it will sink in a few hours.” The tracking device on board Hayai continues to send position reports and will do so until the boat goes down. Scuttling the boat is a prudent course of action to ensure that Hayai does not present any danger to maritime traffic.

Nico is hoping to be airlifted off the boat when the ship passes Cape Town. “I need to get back to Holland as soon as I can,” he said. “If I can find a boat in New Zealand that is suitable for this kind of race I will buy it and rejoin the fleet in Wellington. This is a great event with great people and I want to continue to be a part of it. If not this one, definitely the next one.”

Aside from the ships papers and his computer, the only thing that Budel salvaged from Hayai was a wooden plaque given to him by his father. “I have the plaque with me,” he said. “It will be fixed to the interior of my new boat as soon as I have one. I am very sad to lose this great boat that has already raced twice around the world, but at least I am safe and there will be another boat and another race.”

~ Portimao Global Ocean Race

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Comments
  1. emilyboats, thank you for a very interesting blog

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