Mega-yacht crew saves fishing boats in Arctic Bay
Motor yacht Shinkai, which recently left Iqaluit, is making its way through the Northwest Passage
The crew of a mega-yacht that got chins wagging when it was spotted off Iqaluit recently saved two local fishing boats in Arctic Bay that became unmoored during high winds.
The motor yacht Shinkai has been making its way through Canada’s Arctic for more than a week.
“We’ve been in Arctic Bay for the last two days because it has been pretty stormy,” the Shinkai’s captain, Marcus Desaunois, said in an interview Monday.
He said that on Sunday, winds reached a maximum of 55 knots, or close to 102 km/h, and “two boats basically broke loose from the moorings and started drifting towards us.”
He said the Shinkai, a 55-metre yacht, has a rescue boat ready at all times and the crew is trained to follow a man-overboard protocol.
“So the boys straight away jumped into action; got on their safety gear and dropped the [rescue] boat,” Desaunois said.
The wayward boat was returned to appreciative locals, but then a second broke loose of its mooring.
After the crew intercepted the second boat, two members noticed the keys were in the ignition so they drove it back to the rightful owners, who were standing on the beach waving as they arrived.
“They were very happy we brought it back. It was a small gesture,” said Desaunois.
He said they used the rescues “as a bit of a practice, a man-overboard practice.”
When the steel-hulled mega-yacht arrived in Iqaluit last week, it was the subject of a gale of rumours with locals wondering who its owner might be.
Some speculated the boat could belong to ex-KGB officer and Russian oligarch Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, who has a similar yacht called the Ragnar.
Desaunois said then that it wasn’t the first time the Shinkai had been mistaken for the Ragnar.
“Last year when the Shinkai was in Norway, a local reporter mistook the Shinkai for Strzhalkovsky’s Ragnar.”
Citing privacy, Desaunois declined to reveal the identity of the Shinkai’s owner or its itinerary, only saying the vessel would be making its way through the Northwest Passage and stopping in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, when it reached the other side.
The Shinkai is equipped with an onboard submarine, which Desaunois said would be used to explore local flora and fauna. The sub, designed for recreational use, can reach a maximum depth of 450 metres.
Due to weather conditions in Arctic Bay, crew members did not have much time to speak with hamlet residents other than to shake their hands and return to the ship.
It was great training, Desaunois said.
“It’s been absolutely amazing,” he said of their trip to Canada’s Arctic.
With files from David Lochead