Fatal yacht sinking was preventable

Published on October 14th, 2021

by Katy Stickland, Yachting Monthly
An investigation by Maritime New Zealand has concluded that window storm covers could have prevented the fatal sinking of the Bavaria 47 Ocean, Essence off North Island.


New regulations on window storm covers for yachts have been introduced, following an investigation into the fatal sinking of the Bavaria 47 Ocean, Essence off the coast of New Zealand.

Maritime New Zealand now requires all boats undertaking international voyages to fit storm covers on windows of more than 1853cm², and have updated the Regulations and the Yacht Inspectors’ Manual.

The story of the sinking of Essence, with the loss of the skipper Stuart Pedersen, was featured in Lessons: Sunk in a storm with no liferaft.

The boat was on passage from Fiji to Tauranga, New Zealand when heavy weather forced the crew to change course towards Opua in the Bay of Islands, a lee shore.

Although the four-strong experienced crew prepared for the storm, window storm covers were not fitted, despite being onboard.

Essence suffered multiple knockdowns in heavy seas before foundering in 60 knot winds off the east coast of Northland, North Island on 14 October 2019; the final knockdown resulted in the starboard windows breaking, and water flooding the saloon. – Full report

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