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Monday, 9 May 2011

The Death of Enza (and my part in her demise) Part 5.

A feint voice calls out from behind the slapping of the boat on the sea. Someone else is alive! Ben? Slava? Who cares? I think it's Ben Bones the skipper! Great, that makes four of us now. We call to him and tell him we're okay. Though through all of the excitement there is a lapse in communication.
Ben had thought that we were inside of the hull. When entering to find us after a brief silence he found that we were no longer where he thought we were.

We'd quietened our voices so as to let someone else think of the plan. It would, however, be nice if we could hear what said plan was. It's been a little while now and nothing's been heard, surely they know where we are. It's going to be quite a feat to get to the top of the bottom of the hull, I wish they'd tell us how it was going to happen.


A muffled reply makes it's way over the boat. 'Where are you?

'We're outside of the boat!'

A slight pause. 'What?!'

'We're outside of the boat, holding on to the railings!'

Another pause. 'Why?'

Why indeed! Luke couldn't help it. He was caught under the netting and made his way out to the side for the want of breathing. Me and Sacha however just left a perfectly good, albeit upside down, boat.

'Thom's got no clothes on...'

Thanks Sacha

'...He's getting cold. We need to get out pretty soon!'

I am cold, although the water had seemed quite clement at first. As it should be, it is late October after all. The seas have had the entire summer to warm through.
As soon as this was mentioned I started becoming aware of the numbness in my fingers and my chattering teeth. How long can I hold on for?
Forever! There is no way in hell I'm letting go of this boat other than to get rescued.

Still looking up at the mountain of a boat we see a hand appear, then an arm and then a Ben sitting by the Propeller. What a beautiful sight! Our knight in shining red waterproofs.

Now I'm not sure why I said what I did at this point, I could feel my brain trying to stop it as the words shivered from my mouth.

'Ben, if you wanted me to clean the bottom of the boat then there are easier ways than this you know.'


Luke and Sacha suggest I go up first. Ben's outstretched arm is so inviting. I can feel his grip before I even start to reach up to him. He grabs my wrist, I his and we pull. I nearly make it but splash back into the Atlantic. I'm as tired as I am heavy. I can't do it.

'Hang on!' I remember what I've been struggling to hold on to for the past hour.

'Henri Lloyd!'

Yes! Good 'ol Henry can sort this out with his Salopettes (Thanks Matt!). I pass them to Ben to hang over the propeller by the shoulder straps. Inspired thinking. Though not as inspired as the leg up I got from Sacha. How did he do that? My thermals came down with the force of it. I know Sacha would have been looking up. I think that'll be a view he'll never forget!

The leg up + Salopettes + Ben = Me on top of the bottom of the hull.
What a sight! There's Ben Bones, Ben Wookey, Pete and Slava. With myself, Sacha and Luke that's everyone.
I slide down the hull and onto the netting then wade over to Ben and Pete. The motion of the sea is quite confused as it bounces it's way between the two hulls. The bottom of the pod in the middle of the boats is stripped of paint from where the water has impacted with it over the years. Here I throw myself down, my mind is beginning to escape from me. I don't blame it really, I just wish I could go with it.


  1. Exciting stuff but you guys were very lucky!! :-)

  2. Lucky to be here indeed! So I thought I'd share

  3. Fantastic reading Thom. The newspaper accounts when it happened gave pretty much no details. I hope you guys aren't planning similar sequels. 7 years ago one of my ATCs, St├ęphanie Preux was missing at sea for a week:

    Take care,


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