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Dan Hellier - Karon Beach - SARCA In The Tsunami - THAILAND

HOW SARCA PLAYED A MAJOR PART IN SAVING LIVES IN THE TSUNAMI

Jacana was anchored in sand at Karon Beach Phuket about 300 metres from shore in about 8-9 metres of water with 33mtr of chain out.

We were anchored directly in the path of the Tsunami the worst hit part of Karon beach.

Patong is the next major bay nth of us. We knew it was catastrophic when the restaurants from shore came past us and all we could hear were screams for help.

Not long after people came washing past us in a whirlpool of water. The many surges kept changing our anchor depth from 4 to 14.6 metres.

Our SARCA anchor held fast thru the first wave. We decided not to move because there were people in the water who needed help after being sucked out in the back surge.

The back surge bought a carpet of debris. The longer we stayed the thicker the debris. The back surges created large whirlpools with vortexes at the centre. Some were clockwise, some anti- clockwise. Jacana spun in the whirlpools but again the SARCA held fast.

The beach that started off 300 metres away came reaching out to us hi the back surge. It got to less than a 100 metres. Not knowing how Tsunamis work we just had to hope it wouldn't get us before we could safely move.

We tried to lower the tinny to assist people but it was hopeless as it became a flying missile. I hate jet skis - but have new found respect; a brave young Thai man rescued a desperate naked German women via his jet ski and delivered her to us on the boat; she wasn't far from gone. There were two Thai men on jet skis who could get through the debris to the injured people. They were brave men who saved lives.

The 3rd wave was the worst. The SARCA held thru all five waves even with a palm tree entangled in the chain. Because of the SARCA holding we were able to get the injured women on board and then later to hospital. We raised the anchor on the back surge of the fifth wave, then after cutting away the palm tree we slowly sailed out with the back surge and re anchored out of danger.

We were in constant view of our son who had come to visit us for Xmas. He was staying at a hotel 300-metres from the beach. My son was on the 7* floor and viewed the whole thing he thought we were goners. He was going to come down to the beach in half an hour. What some parents put their kids through.

Two lots of our mates suffered damage to their yachts. One couple's boat is still on the rocks and the salvage company is having trouble raising it. But otherwise all yachties are healthy.

And as for the SARCA, I have owned it for four years and it's never let me down, it's a bloody good anchor, the sand and reef combination anchor.

Yours sincerely

Dan Hellier

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Dan Helliers Yacht Jacana