The owner and three crew of a Swan 44 Kratos were rescued by an Italian coastguard vessel following the activation of a McMurdo FastFind PLB (personal locator beacon) which crew member Matt Sillars said he “always carries in his pocket”. The yacht caught fire following an electrical fault in an extraction system in the heads, and the crew were quickly driven out by the overpowering smoke and were forced to abandon ship into the liferaft.
Despite putting out a mayday call by VHF, the call for help was not correctly interpreted, and, following a faulty valve which caused the liferaft to start to sink, the crew began to fear the worst. Matt decided to activate his FastFind PLB, which by luck he only purchased one month ago. This enabled him to put out a speedy distress signal which went via Kinloss (the 406mhz listening station) and was then forwarded to the Falmouth Coastguard in the UK. Meanwhile Matt was able to reach the Falmouth Coastguard via the Solent Coastguard using his satellite phone. This call validated the signal that had already been received from the Fastfind PLB, enabling the rescue operation to be speeded up.
Ross Hobson was rescued mid-Ocean following the activation of his two McMurdo EPIRB distress beacons after his Class 3 trimaran Ideal Stelrad capsized in 50 knots of wind, during the Route du Rhum ocean race.
Ross managed to run to the edge of the yacht as it flipped over and then crawled inside the upturned yacht through an emergency hatch. He activated the McMurdo Smartfind EPIRB which sent its signal via the satellite system to the Falmouth Coastguard. He also tried to use his satellite phone but it got soaked by a wave and became inoperable. Ross then activated the other McMurdo EPIRB, to make it obvious that the first was not an accidental activation.
Yacht designer Richard Woods and his 32ft catamaran Eclipse were caught in a 'Perfect Storm' in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, southern Mexico. With 70-knot winds and 20ft seas, his small boat was soon in serious trouble - especially once the parachute anchor burst, giving Woods no choice but to run before the massive waves.
In danger of capsize, Woods sent out a Mayday and activated his McMurdo Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). A few hours later a US Navy helicopter emerged out of the dark skies and terrifying conditions. Woods and his crew were helicopter airlifted to the safety of US frigate USS Ford.
Dom was rescued from his kite-powered purpose-built craft Little Murka in mid-Atlantic after he had activated his McMurdo EPIRB. Enduring hurricane force winds and mountainous seas Little Murka had repeatedly rolled and broken free from her sea anchor before finally capsizing and filling with water.
When help arrived, and before he abandoned ship, Dom switched the EPIRB off and left both the EPIRB and his boat to their fate. 11 months later the yacht was washed up on a Northern Ireland Beach at Malin Head, having travelled un-manned an astonishing 2,500 miles across the Atlantic.