Australian yachtswoman Anne Lise Guy set sail from Mooloolaba, Queensland in November 1993 aboard her 11 metre yacht “Wildflower” to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent, and for three months everything was fine as she slowly tacked east toward South America.

Australian yachtswoman Anne Lise Guy set sail from Mooloolaba, Queensland in November 1993 aboard her 11 metre yacht “Wildflower” to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent, and for three months everything was fine as she slowly tacked east toward South America.

Grey_Rover

However, on the 20th February 1994 as Anne Lise approached the notorious Cape Horn, all contact was lost with her and the yacht.  About 1,100 kilometres west of Cape Horn the yacht was pounded by mountainous seas and 120 Km/h winds, in one incident the yacht was spun around 360 degrees by the horrendous seas, as well as being knocked down a total of five times.

Anne Lise lost her radio communications, life raft, all cooking and heating facilities, as well as the yacht’s automatic steering system, so in temperatures of between 3 and 5 degrees Anne Lise was forced to steer the vessel by hand for the next 49 days, unable to get below to cook the lone sailor lost nearly 19 kilos in weight, despite all this the plucky lady managed to stay on or very near to the course she had planned for the voyage.

Eventually she reached South Georgia and attempted to enter Cumberland Bay, but the yacht was pushed back by gales on two occasions, not one to give up Anne Lise was preparing for her third attempt when on the horizon she spotted the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Grey Rover, now very low on fuel Anne Lise was unsure if the tanker had seen her, but eventually the ship came alongside the severely damaged vessel and on the orders of Captain Stewart Pierce RFA, the ship’s commanding officer,  the ship’s navigating officer Second Officer Chris Locke RFA was transferred to the Wildflower to lend some help and moral support to the lone yachtswoman.

The next morning, with the tanker off her beam the Wildflower entered Cumberland Bay and salvation.  From South Georgia Anne Lise was taken aboard Grey Rover and transported to the Falklands at the start of the journey home.

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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