An Austrian couple, identified only as Irene and Christian, made a distress call last week, on July 31, from their Jeanneau Sun Legende 41, Gobo, in the South Pacific. The three masted barque Picton Castle, sailing in the Cook Islands, charted a course for the vessel in distress and traveled 29 hours and 330 km to reach the couple. When they arrived, Captain Daniel Moreland sent the ship’s chief mate Paul Bracken and chief engineer Alex Marts over to determine what the problems were on the Gobo. Bracken repaired damaged rigging while Marts repaired the raw-water pump and installed an electric auxiliary bilge pump. With these repairs in place the yacht continued on its way. Unfortunately, that was not the end of the tale.
On August 7, the skipper made another distress call, after apparently have steering problems. The couple, was picked up by the American Samoan based boat FV Tifa Imoan, about 400 kilometers east of American Samoa. The yacht Gobo is still afloat and mariners are being advised of its position. The couple purchased the Gobo in Tahiti in July of last year.
Picton Castle, which has made five circumnavigations, has been sailing the Cook Islands for two months providing shipping and passenger transport. It is on the Cook Island of Aitutaki but will soon sail south to the island of Rarotonga before sailing to Australia to take part in the International Fleet Review in October.
Late last month the Picton Castle transported an unusual group of passengers – five pregnant women. As reported on the Picton Castle site:
World-voyaging, Cook Islands flagged sailing ship, the Barque Picton Castle returned to Rarotonga on Monday 1st July, carrying five pregnant women among her passengers.
The women are all travelling from Pukapuka to Rarotonga because it is considered too risky for them to give birth at home in case of complications. Ship’s Doctor Aaron Davis has been monitoring the women while at sea and says he is pleased with how well they have coped on the voyage, after overcoming some early sea sickness. Dr. Davis usually works as a family doctor and obstetrician in the USA and joined the Picton Castle as Medical Officer for a vacation. He explains that he was only expecting to look after the crew of the ship, so it was something of a surprise to find out there would be five pregnant passengers to care for as well.