Two crewmembers on an RAF sailing trip in Tenerife died yesterday when their 35ft yacht was wrecked when trying to enter a harbour in 80mph winds and breaking seas
Two crewmembers on an RAF sailing trip in Tenerife died yesterday when their 35ft yacht was wrecked when trying to enter a harbour in 80mph winds and breaking seas. The tight, dog-leg entrance to the artificial harbour at Los Gigantes, Tenerife, is notorious for being treacherous in strong winds and high seas. A well-respected pilotage book for the area notes, ‘Entry should not be attempted with a ground swell running, not at any rate by those unskilled in white-water rafting. Entry is certainly not advisable in strong winds when surge builds up inside the harbour.’
On the final approach to the harbour and as the yacht turned broadside to line up with the entrance, it is thought that the breaking waves hurled the vessel onto the rock breakwater. Two of the six-man crew drowned the other four managing to struggle ashore with minor injuries.
On a two-week sailing course, the RAF-owned yacht left the island of La Palma the previous evening on the 100-mile trip to Los Gigantes, despite the conditions, which were reported as having been bad for several days. According to unofficial sources, the port had been closed due to the bad weather, but had not hoisted the appropriate flags to inform vessels not to attempt to enter the harbour.