Lost at Sea – Nigel Fox

November 1, 2021 comment-icon 0 Comments

Iridium Go – LifeSaver

I just wanted to pass on my heartfelt thanks to the PredictWind team in what could be considered a slightly different use of the GPS tracking capabilities of the Iridium Go! As a solo sailor, part of my support team is a friend who monitors the progress of my yacht using the GPS tracking system which is set to a 30-minute ping of my location, speed, bearing etc, so he has a constant update of exactly where I am.

During early January, I was pitched off of my yacht in the Arafura Sea, east of the Wessel islands which is located at the eastern side of the Northern Territory. This is about as remote as you can get in Australia apart from say the Kimberly coast or the east coast north of Cairns to Cape York. AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) contacted my friend to advise him that my PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) had been activated much to his surprise as I had called him the evening before to advise of a sail plan change due to bad weather.

Now that I found myself floating in the ocean all alone and my yacht had sailed away I considered it lost. Other friends who lived at my stopover port also tracked my yacht’s path via the tracker and found out about my fate and organized their own recovery of my yacht. Using the tracker they knew its course, speed, heading, etc so they were able to intercept my phantom sailing-vessel but more importantly my cat who has been a part of my life for the last 15 and a half years. As a result not only am I still alive but my mobile home plus faithful companion have been reunited with one very happy sailor.

So much as this is an unusual way of using the GPS tracking capabilities of the Iridium it should also be noted as a potential lifesaver should things go wrong.

We are only as good as the technology available to us as individuals, but by investing in a good combination of equipment with many varied tasks not only was my life saved but my vessel was recovered safely.