Rescue: Towing a sailboat between Pinel and Tintamarre


On Friday May 10, the SNSM team members were called at 21:30 p.m.: a 12-meter sailboat with two boaters on board was in difficulty.

Leaving from Saint-Barthélemy in the afternoon to spend the weekend in Tintamarre with friends whom they have to join on the spot, they encounter a problem with the mainsail, one of whose stiffeners gets stuck in the mast.

Unable to lower or raise the sail which cannot be used in this state. They then decide to attach it and continue to the engine. Except that, shortly after, the engine breaks down and suddenly the boat becomes difficult to maneuver with just her little genoa and not much wind.

They are a few miles from Tintamarre. As they are not far and what it is not deep, they decide to drop anchor between Pinel islet and Tintamarre. For several hours they try to leave; first alone, then with the help of their friends who came in the annex.

In vain. The engine refuses to restart and the mainsail cannot be released without being damaged.

There is no immediate danger, because the boat is wet, but in difficult conditions, exposed to a big swell from the bottom and it is not sure that its anchor will hold all night.

Last resort: a call to CROSS des Antilles-Guyane to request towing assistance. The CROSS requests the SNSM station to intervene.

The six rescuers meet at the station at 22:10 p.m., then embark on the speedboat SNS 129 (Notre Dame de la Garoupe) and depart from the Fort Louis marina at 22:25 p.m., arriving in the area forty minutes later. The trailer passed at 23:08 p.m.  and we first set off for Tintamarre in order to bring the friends of the 2 boaters with their dinghy closer to their boat.

Around 00:40 a.m., the sailboat was brought to safety in Marigot Bay where the owners (very happy to have been towed 😉 can rest before making the necessary repairs in peace, the next day.

At 01:00 in the morning, the rescuers put their speedboat at the quay and go home for a “shortened” night.

As a reminder, SNSM interventions to rescue people are always free. On the other hand, towing outings are chargeable and priced according to the official scale defined by the Headquarters of the National Society for Sea Rescue according to the size of the vessel to be towed as well as the nautical intervention means used by the station (Class Cruiser I = V1 = SNS 129 or Semi-Rigid = SR = Rescue Star).

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