A few weeks ago the crew of the Tanda Malaika crashed onto a reef near the southern tip of Huahine in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. The family of six was rescued by helicopter and their 46-foot Leopard sailing catamaran was a total loss. Indeed, they are required to pay to tow their wrecked boat out to sea. Linus, Janna, and Sophie met the Tanda Malaika crew days before the wreck in Papeete, Tahiti. Linus Wilson talks to the skipper and dad Dan Govatos about the accident.
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Linus outlines three decisions that he believed contributed to the wreck.
- They should not have tried to enter an unfamiliar harbor at night. In daylight they could have seen the breakers. An overly optimistic sailing plan ran late, and Mr. Govatos did not heave to or turn around when they were running late. They hit the reef more than three hours after sunset.
- They had too much faith in unreliable electronic charts. In the final seconds, depth sounder readings were ignored.
- They were too close to shore. 200 foot depths in the South Pacific are too close to shore especially at night at an unfamiliar landfall. The sea is steep and the difference between 200 foot depths and exposed reef can be less than one-hundred feet in many places. His decision to hug the reef was do to the rough seas, which could be expected from the pre-departure forecast of 20-25 knot winds.
Many cruisers in French Polynesia make the first mistake according to Linus, but few pay as steep a price as Mr. Govatos and his family. This is a sad story and our hearts go out to the Govatos family in this difficult time. The podcast’s episode 37 Patreon revenues are being donated to the GoFundMe campaign to help the Govatos/Willis family pay for the sinking of their boat and their flights back to the USA.
Pictures are reproduced with the permission of Dan Govatos, Adventuresofatribe.com
When they were salvaging the wreck the Tanda Mailaka was on the reef at 16 degrees 49’41” South and 150 degrees 59″41″ West on the southern tip of the reef of Huahine.
Below is a video with Dan and his children filmed just before the shipwreck:
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On the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast Linus Wilson has interviewed the crew of Sailing SV Delos, WhiteSpotPirates (Untie the Lines), Chase the Story Sailing, Sailing Doodles, SV Prism, Sailing Miss Lone Star, and many others.
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Copyright Linus Wilson, 2017