This is the dramatic moment in which a British couple came to the rescue of the passengers of a sailboat moments before their boat was about to be crushed against the rocks in Menorca.
After a Spanish rescue team gave up on the unfortunate victims, Felicity Hanson and her husband Joe saved the day by helping free the 38-foot sailboat that had gotten stuck on jagged rocks.
The two had woken up aboard their 40-foot Gibsea 402 sailing yacht in the sleepy fishing village of Es Grau to find that the boat behind them had been washed up on the rocks overnight.
An easterly swell in the Mahón marina had battered all the boats and their anchorages, but the boat behind them had been hit so badly that it was being pushed ashore.
Felicity, 30, a digital marketing consultant, and Joe, 32, an accountant, both from Manchester but now living aboard their boat full-time, watched as a Spanish rigid inflatable rescue boat tried but failed to free the yacht.
The two woke up in the sleepy fishing village of Es Grau to find that the boat behind them had been washed up on the rocks overnight (pictured)
There were about six guests aboard the boat that was being pounded into the dirt and jagged rocks.
Felicity and Joe came to the rescue of the crew of a Spanish sailing ship moments before their vessel was about to be crushed against the rocks.
“We woke up in the morning and saw it like it was right up against the rocks,” Felicity said.
“We watched for a minute or two as many ribs were buzzing around it, then we saw the big rescue coming in. The rescue boat tried for about 30 minutes and then gave up.”
The salvage team had tried to pull the boat off the rocks with an inch-thick tow line pulling at full speed. But after being unsuccessful and only causing more damage to the ship, the Manchester couple intervened.
Joe had already reached out to offer some advice, offering the use of his halyard, a rope used to raise or lower the sail, to get the sailboat off the rocks. However, this had been rejected by one of the Spanish saviors.
By this time, the ship’s owner had returned to the ship and had leased the ship to the paying guests currently on board.
They began to assist the owner by grabbing the main halyard, pulling the boat sideways, while the owner pulled back with his rope while a nearby catamaran owner helped by holding the line.
“We started by grabbing the main halyard and pulling the boat sideways with our boat, then the owner pulled back with another boat.
‘The force required to pull the ship sideways was more than our little six HP (horsepower) could do. A nearby catamaran came to help with their ten HP boat, they held the line and Joe towed them in too, so we had 16 HP of power which still wasn’t enough.
Once they formed a plan, it took only a minute to free the boat from the rocks.
Joe and Felicity, originally from Manchester, enjoy a drink on their boat where they live full time.
Felicity and Joe both surf full-time, working remotely as a digital marketing consultant and accountant, respectively.
Severe damage occurred below the ship after it struck the rocks.
The boat’s hull was scraped and battered against the jagged rocks.
The ship had drifted onto the rocks overnight after an easterly swell washed away her anchor.
The Manchester couple filmed the scene and uploaded it to their Instagram account @at-the-hansons, where it garnered more than 380,000 views.
The owner said that if Felicity and Joe had not helped free the boat in time, it would probably have been smashed against the rocks where it would have been continually pounded and dismantled. He said that anyone on board the ship could also have been injured.
The environmental impact could also have been disastrous with the possible spillage of oil and diesel into the ocean.
Felicity and Joe later learned that the charter guests had not followed the owner’s instructions by not putting enough chain in the ocean, which meant the anchor would not hold. This caused the boat to be washed onto the rocks where they remained trapped until morning.
“The boat was stuck on some rocks in Es Grau, there was a swell from the east that was passing and pulling all the boats a bit and a northerly breeze,” he said.
“However, from our understanding since then, the charter guests had not chained enough and the anchor did not hold even though the wind was not too strong.
‘So they dragged and the surf knocked them over a big rock and against the cliff.
Added Felicity: “The boat was miraculously waterproof, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t damaged, as the rudder had been hit so hard against the rocks that they totally lost direction, they had some hull damage on the bow and the pea stand”. that holds the propeller shaft and the propeller in position was also badly damaged.
Now they are in a shipyard being repaired.
Joe is pictured with the couple’s dog on the boat, which they live on full time.
Felicity and Joe celebrating sailing 1000 nautical miles
The front of Joe and Felicity’s boat is shown in the sleepy fishing village of Es Grau on Menorca.
Joe, Felicity and their dog. The couple came to the rescue of a sailboat that was being crushed against the rocks
Felicity on her bodyboard. After a Spanish rescue team gave up on the unfortunate victims, Felicity Hanson and her husband Joe saved the day by helping free the 38-foot sailboat.
The couple woke up on their sailboat in the sleepy fishing village of Es Grau to find that the boat behind them had been washed up on the rocks overnight.
The rescue team caused more damage than necessary, said Felicity and Joe, who said they were pulling hard to try to free the boat instead of thinking about how it would affect the physical boat.
“The professionals were more of a hindrance than a help,” he said.
“I know it’s not their job to rescue boats, they save lives as a priority, but we think they did more damage trying to help this boat.”
They hauled the boat in with a huge tow rope, probably an inch thick or more, and pulled hard astern to try to pull it off the rock.
“That didn’t actually move the boat, but it broke the tow line, which requires tremendous force.”
“The rescue boat tried to pull from the stern with a reverse towline which didn’t work, then they turned around and tried to pull forward (more power) which didn’t work either.”
As part of the boating community, Felicity and Joe knew how devastating it would be to the owner if their boat was completely wrecked, either by leaving the boat to be smashed against the rocks, or torn to pieces by ruthless professionals.
“It was great to have been able to help the owner, and we were very pleased that the ship did not have to become a salvage operation,” he said.
‘If we hadn’t pulled it out of the rocks, the ship would have had to be slowly dismantled, pulling it out piecemeal, which is very sad, and a blemish on a beautiful part of the coast.
“They were so appreciative of the help and that the boat was able to be salvaged, a friend of theirs reached out via Instagram with updates on how the boat was doing etc. and thanked us for filming the process which was also very helpful for their sure”. .
“We love the community aspect, the pros couldn’t help it, but we as a cruising community knew how devastating this would be to the owner and wanted to do everything we could to help.”
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.