Yacht running aground on Dassen Island
On the evening of Sunday 27th March 2022, the Field Ranger from Cape Nature who lives at House Bay on Dassen Island wanted to warn a yacht at anchor in House Bay that the weather forecast was unfavourable. She was unable to do so because she did not have a marine VHF radio. Both the South African Navy’s Sailing Directions and the South African Nautical Almanac state that House Bay is not a safe anchorage in North Westerly winds.
Based on weather forecasts from Windy and Wind-guru, the yacht only expected the wind to start building from the NW at 0700 the following morning. Their plan was to leave at first light taking advantage of the NW wind for their return passage. Unfortunately, by 0200 the fog had come in and the wind had built to 10 to 14 knots. When their GPS anchor alarm showed that they were dragging anchor, they recovered the anchor but the sail drive failed to engage. They unfurled the headsail, but with visibility limited by fog they hit a kelp bed. With no control of the vessel they ended up on the rocks before they could redeploy their anchor.
The NSRI were called and arrived at first light. Later that day, in an attempt to minimise further damage to the yacht, the NSRI towed the yacht off the rocks and beached it at House Bay.