Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

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For Province P0060 - Province of Dorset.

Atlantic Rescue of Dorset Freemason.

A Dorset Freemason and his family have been saved when their yacht became rudderless in the Atlantic Ocean.

Tony White, Treasurer of the Lodge of St Cuthberga, his step-daughter Fran, her husband James and their children Heath (9) and Isla (7) were rescued from their rudder-less yacht, Dove II, five hundred miles east of Barbados. They had been sailing for two weeks, covering over two thousand miles, when their rudder broke away from its mounting during the evening of Sunday 18 December. The yacht was left, quite literally, rudderless in a 25 knot easterly wind and with up to 8m swell.

The family put a mayday call to Falmouth Coastguard who responded immediately and during the next sixty hours, under the control of Martinique Coastguard, rescuers made three attempts to evacuate the stricken yacht.

The first two attempts were by the cargo vessels Newseas Jade and Asia Pearl but were regrettably unsuccessful. The third attempt, at dawn on Wednesday 20 December, was by the yacht Tilly Mint from Cowes. The crew of Tilly Mint changed course and sailed seventy miles when they heard the SOS; they successfully gathered the life raft in with Tony, Fran and the children onboard. James then followed in the second life raft.

With all survivors on board Tilly Mint continued to her original destination of Martinique, arriving on the evening of Friday 23 December. During this voyage the Skipper and crew were generous and compassionate and looked after Tony and the family. The family tell us it was a very humbling experience.

Tony flew home, arriving back on 27 December; Fran and her family have remained in the Caribbean in the hope of recovering their yacht. After that experience Tony says that was his first and last Atlantic crossing by sail.

Tony added that the professionalism, compassion and generosity of all those people involved in the rescue has been overwhelming and he and the family will be forever in their debt. It was a real life example of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.