Oyster 60 hit by South Atlantic iceberg

A family of four has been rescued by a warship in the South Atlantic after hitting an iceberg.

Carl Lomas and Tracey Worth – also known as Lord and Lady Hollinsclough – and their teenage daughters Caitland and Margause were sailing their 60-foot Oyster, called Hollinsclough, 300 miles north-east of South Georgia on Friday when they struck a low-lying iceberg and broached.

The force of the iceberg was like hitting a brick wall, Mr Lomas said: “Tremendous noise like glass shattering. The water was like a milk shake, a white frothy mass.”

When the boat started taking in more water than they could bail out, the family alerted Falmouth Coastguard, who picked up their emergency signal north-east of South Georgia and HMS Clyde, which was 200 miles south of their position, was sent to rescue them.


Outgoing Marine Engineer Officer Lt Robert Satterley said: “When we approached the yacht, we were relieved to see that there were four people alive and well.

“The yacht had sustained severe damage and lay low in the water and it was clear that the family had been through quite an ordeal.

“Unfortunately nothing could be done to save the yacht and we were just glad to get them back to the ship safely.”

Mr Lomas said: “It was terribly scary. The reality was that we were alone in the Atlantic, but then came the patrol ship and we were just elated.”

The family, who were all unhurt, have been sailing the globe since March 2007 when they left Ipswich.

Since then they have travelled to the Canary Islands, before crossing the Atlantic to Recife, Brazil and touring South America.

They spent a month in the Falkland Islands, leaving on March 17 for South Georgia, where they stayed for another month.

An autopilot failure forced their return to the island when they first attempted to leave, but after repairs they set sail again on April 29 to Cape Town, via Tristan da Cunha.

A Falmouth Coastguard spokesman said the iceberg would have been almost impossible to spot: “What they’ve hit is a ‘growler’, where hardly anything is out of the water and the majority is submerged.

“It is very similar to what the Titanic hit. You can track them by radar or visual lookout, but you can’t see them all.

“They are OK, but I would imagine they are a bit shaken.”

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that the incident had proved the value of the family’s 406MHz distress beacon, as without it they would not have been able to come to rescue so quickly.

The family, who are from Derbyshire, are now being taken back to the Falklands, which are currently 1,000 miles away, and should arrive by midweek.