News

Watery end for Shady Lady

It took just 30 minutes for the Shady Lady to sink into the depths of the ocean, 290 nautical miles north of Darwin.
It took just 30 minutes for the Shady Lady to sink into the depths of the ocean, 290 nautical miles north of Darwin.

AFTER 81 years of sailing the seas, Bundaberg-based yacht Shady Lady has met her final resting place in 600m of water, leaving her skipper and crew with “one hell of a tale” to tell.

In June, old salt Peter Charles, 70, told the NewsMail his upcoming participation in the Darwin to Ambon race would be one of his seafaring highlights – and he wasn’t wrong.

After taking out third in the international race, skipper Mr Charles, along with his crew Catherine and Mark Clancy, set off back to Darwin.

But their plans changed when Mr Clancy headed into the galley to make a coffee, only to find water gushing in.

The heartbreaking decision was made to abandon the yacht and, within 10 minutes, the trio were in a dinghy watching the old girl sink.

“I couldn’t watch it,” Mr Charles said.

“I looked away and, when I looked back up, she was gone.

“After 81 years on top of the water, trust Peter Charles to lose it.”

It took just 30 minutes for the Shady Lady to sink into the depths of the ocean, 290 nautical miles north of Darwin.

The rapid descent of the yacht meant the crew members had only a few minutes to gather belongings including their passports, camera and their lucky rubber duck.

“We lost the trophy and money from the race,” Mr Charles said.

“We lost everything.”

The trio immediately activated an EPIRB when the boat began to sink shortly after 7am on August 13 and spent almost four hours bobbing in the ocean before seeing their first sign of life – a Customs aircraft.

An air sea rescue plane arrived shortly after, doing circuits around the 2.6m-long dinghy until four hours later, when an oil rig support vessel, the Go Canopus, travelling from Singapore to Tahiti, arrived to rescue the crew.

“It was an amazing rescue,” Mr Charles said.

“It was a bit scary when they came up beside us with the big bow wave,” Mr Clancy added.

During their eight-hour wait in the ocean, the trio had a brush with two sharks, one that kept swimming and another that smashed into the underside of the aluminium-bottomed dinghy before swimming away.

Always in good spirits, Mr Charles kept the crew entertained, humming theme music from Jaws following the encounter.

“It was a big nudge,” Mr Clancy said.

“My feet were hanging over the side so I moved pretty quickly.”

The adventure wasn’t quite how Mrs Clancy had imagined her first ocean-going experience.

The sailing novice met the Shady Lady in Ambon following the race and replaced crew member Judy O’Donoghue for the trip home.

“I certainly didn’t expect this much excitement,” Mrs Clancy said.

“We did have some fantastic days of sailing before (the yacht sank), though – it was spectacular.”

After their rescue, the three sailors spent several days aboard the Go Canopus, whose crew dropped them at Thursday Island.

As to how the Shady Lady started to take on water, it’s anyone’s guess.

“That’s the mystery of the day,” Mr Charles said.

“We’ll never know.”

Despite the ordeal, Mr Charles is already planning the next Darwin to Ambon race with Mr Clancy by his side.

And as for Mrs Clancy’s next boat ride?

“I’ll have to think about it,” she said.

Topics:  bundaberg yacht



Date nights under $50

ACCORDING to The Bachelor falling in love involves helicopter rides, private jets, shopping trips, and we mustn’t forget the hot tubs.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Car into a tree on Branyan St

Two cars have collided on Branyan St this morning.

Police investigating the scene

UPDATE: Ergon fixes hot water problem affecting Bundy residents

Ergon Energy is working to rectify a problem with equipment at the Bundaberg bulk supply point that operates hot water systems on off-peak tariffs.

Ergon Energy has fixed a hot water problem across Bundaberg

A place that's worth the stop

CHARMING: Childers

ADVERTORIAL: Visit Childers

Local Partners

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

ABC2 slammed for cringe-worthy pre-match coverage of the Sydney FC play Liverpool exhibition game

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Rebel Wilson trial: The secret we never could have known

Rebel Wilson outside court

“Most people wouldn’t know it exists,” she said.

Janet’s back in the ring

Marta Dusseldorp returns in season three of the TV series Janet King.

Season three of ABC's legal drama delves deeper than ever before.

Game of Thrones drops new trailer for season 7

Game of Thrones fans have been given a new trailer for season 7.

Fans are finally getting a full-throttled peak at season seven.

How true-blue train driver became a TV star

Bernie Baker stars in the TV series Railroad Australia.

Fan reactions still surprise Bernie Baker.

Conviction for Snapchat body shaming of elderly woman

Dani Mathers was arrested after snapping a photo of a naked, elderly woman in a US gym and posting it on social media. Picture: Supplied

Model convicted for secretly snapping and posting a naked gym pic

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!