TT Coast Guard rescues Dutch yachties following engine issues at sea

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TT Coast Guard rescues Dutch yachties following engine issues at sea

A Dutch couple was rescued by members of the TT Coast Guard after the engine of their yacht blew out, leaving them stranded between Venezuelan and TT waters.

Fred Godecke, 67, and Caroline Maffert, 65, were on their way from the Netherlands to Trinidad onboard their yacht, Mustang Sally, when the engine blew, forcing them to use its sail.

According to a GML report, the vessel started drifting towards Venezuela as they were sailing against the wind and also got little wind.

They were reportedly deep in that country’s waters by the time they contacted for help and the T&T Coast Guard got their GPS points.

The media house also reported that Yacht Services Association vice president Jesse James, who spearheaded the rescue mission, said he was worried when he heard they were in Venezuelan waters.

“From the co-ordinates, I could have tell that they were heading to that area where there are pirates in the waters waiting to attack. So, at that point, we knew we had to get them out and back to Trinidad waters so that the Coast Guard can help,” James said.

Godecke said at first they did not remember they had new technology onboard for communication.

“There’s something called Starlink where we can be able to get a high-speed connection anywhere on earth. So by the time we remembered about it, I sent out a WhatsApp message to Jesse and then the communication started back and forth until we were found and brought to Power Boats Marina in Chaguaramas,” he said.

James told GML, “I got the first message after 6 am Saturday and got in contact with Captain Don Polo, who is the commanding officer of the Coast Guard and our liaison officer with the Yacht Services Association of T&T, Lt Commander Daniel Castagne. The rescue fishing vessel named Perseverance was captained by Frazer and there were other visiting cruisers from various countries, including US, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, UK and France.”

Godecke said eight years ago, he and Maffert decided to sell everything they owned in the Netherlands and buy a yacht. They’ve been sailing the world since then and this was their second trip to T&T from Bonaire, Netherlands.

James urged cruisers, local and international, to invest in Starlink.

(photo courtesy GML)