European Tour 2023

Sailing boat rescued by the Götheborg

Imagine losing your rudder out at sea and sending out a distress call. And then the largest ocean-going wooden sailing ship in the world comes to your rescue. Or in the words of the sailors on the sailing boat: "This moment was very strange, and we wondered if we were dreaming. Where were we? What time period was it?"

This all happened off the coast of France last week. To our knowledge it is the first time that an east indiaman, and the first time for Götheborg, to engage in such a rescue. Now we also have the images and story from the sailing vessel that was rescued. 

Sailing boat rescued by the Götheborg

Photo: David Moeneclaey

Tuesday last week, the 25th of April, Götheborg of Sweden was heading for the upcoming portstop in Jersey. Just after 4pm, a distress call was sent by the MRCC regarding a sailing vessel that had lost its rudder and was drifting. Being the closest ship to the sailing boat, Götheborg answered the call.

The sailing boat was towed after the Götheborg during the night from the 25th to the 26th of April. In the morning the 26th of April, a French search and rescue boat from the port of Paimpol came and met up off the French coast.

Two days ago, Monday 1st of May, the crew at the Götheborg again came into contact with the two sailors on the sailing vessel, and they shared their side of the stories and photos. They did not expect an 18th century merchant ship to come to their rescue. Or in their own words: "This moment was very strange, and we wondered if we were dreaming. Where were we? What time period was it?"

For us it was an honour to be able to help out, and an experience for everyone on board!

Scroll down to read the full story of the sailors on the sailing boat. 

Götheborg approaching. Photo: David Moeneclaey
Götheborg approaching. Photo: David Moeneclaey
Photo: David Moeneclaey
Photo: David Moeneclaey
Sailing boat on tow. Photo: David Moeneclaey
Sailing boat on tow. Photo: David Moeneclaey
Sailing boat on tow. Photo: Linus Hjelm
Sailing boat on tow. Photo: Linus Hjelm
Sailing boat on tow. Photo: Linus Hjelm
Sailing boat on tow. Photo: Linus Hjelm
Keeping watch. Photo: Linus Hjelm
Keeping watch. Photo: Linus Hjelm
Search and rescue boat arriving from Paimpol in France. Photo: Linus Hjelm
Search and rescue boat arriving from Paimpol in France. Photo: Linus Hjelm
Sailing boat route. Photo: David Moeneclaey
Sailing boat route. Photo: David Moeneclaey

Text from the sailors on the sailing vessel Corto

On April 25th at 01:00, we left Cherbourg and set sail for Camaret (the tip of Brittany). 

We are two experienced sailors on board (Simon and me) with the objective of bringing the boat to Southern Brittany.

At 15:30, we were at sea, more than 50 nautical miles from the coast, when our rudder broke. After sending a PAN-PAN call on the VHF radio, the three-masted sailboat Götheborg quickly responded to our call, offering to tow us to Paimpol (France).

We repeatedly emphasized that we were aboard a small 8-meter sailboat, but the response was the same each time: "We are a 50-meter three-masted sailboat, and we offer our assistance in towing you to Paimpol." We were perplexed by the size difference between our two boats, as we feared being towed by a boat that was too large and at too fast a speed that could damage our boat.

The arrival of the Götheborg on the scene was rapid and surprising, as we did not expect to see a merchant ship from the East India Company of the XVIII century. This moment was very strange, and we wondered if we were dreaming. Where were we? What time period was it? The Götheborg approached very close to us to throw the line and pass a large rope. The mooring went well, and our destinies were linked for very long hours, during which we shared the same radio frequency to communicate with each other.

The crew of the Götheborg showed great professionalism and kindness towards us. They adapted their speed to the size of our boat and the weather conditions. We felt accompanied by very professional sailors. Every hour, the officer on duty of the Götheborg called us to ensure everything was going well.

The next day, as we approached the French coast, we radioed for another boat to help us enter the port, but no one responded positively. Around noon, the Götheborg approached us as closely as possible and stayed by our side until the arrival of a French rescue boat to ensure that everything would go well for us before letting us go.

This adventure, very real, was an incredible experience for us. We were extremely lucky to cross paths with the Götheborg by chance and especially to meet such a caring crew.

Dear commander and crew of the Götheborg, your kindness, and generosity have shown that your ship is much more than just a boat. It embodies the noblest values of the sea, and we are honored to have had the chance to cross your path and benefit from your help.

We thank you again for everything you have done for us.

Sincerely,

David Moeneclaey (skipper of the sailboat Corto)

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19 June 2024

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Remember the sailboat rescue in April last year?

07 May 2024

On the 25th of April, off the coast of France just after 4pm, a distress call was sent by the MRCC regarding a sailing vessel that had lost its rudder and was drifting. Being the closest ship to the sailing boat, Götheborg answered the call.