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Double Dose of Bad Luck

The beautiful Moody 54 Red Sky washed ashore on the east coast of Australia this week, but plans are coming together to refloat and repair her.   

© 2014 Jamie Brown / Northern Star

We’re sorry to report that the lovely Moody 54 Red Sky, a veteran of both the Baja Ha-Ha and Pacific Puddle Jump rallies, was abandoned at sea off eastern Australia early December 13 while taking on more water than her pumps could manage. At roughly 3 a.m. she had hit a submerged object while en route from Gold Coast to Sydney. Despite heavy sea conditions, her four-person crew was rescued without injury by the 600-ft tanker British Loyalty. Red Sky was left to sink, but she drifted 14 miles west and washed up on a beach near Evans Head, Australia, where she was stripped of much of her equipment and the crew’s personal gear.

In a post Monday, former owner John Hembrow wrote, "Mike [Cramb], the owner, tells me that they believe they became entangled in a wayward FAD (Fish Attracting Device) that had come adrift during the rough weather. Not sure where the water was coming in, but it looks like the rudder was torn away and it is likely this was the source of the leak. They also had no steering as a result." The grounding was doubly sad, as Cramb had spent "tens of thousands rectifying the damage caused by the lightning strike last year," according to Hembrow, "and this was his first voyage on Red Sky after completing the repairs."

In addition to contending with big seas and 30 knots of wind, rising water made Red Sky’s engine quit while owner Mike Cramb was trying to bring her alongside the UK-flagged tanker British Loyalty. Cramb, his wife and two additional crew all got off safely.

© 2014 AusRCC

Many veterans of the 2010 Ha-Ha and 2012 Puddle Jump will likely remember John and Leanne Hembrow for their upbeat attitudes and tireless enthusiasm for the cruising life. They bought Red Sky in California shortly before the Ha-Ha, and she was one of the prettiest boats in the fleet. Having sold her to Mike Cramb a couple of years ago, they now live in Nadi, Fiji.

Seen here, John, Leanne and a friend breeze into Moorea’s majestic Opunohu Bay during the 2012 Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

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