Reported on December 19, 2008.
The incident occurred 900 miles offshore.
The boat of the transatlantic yachtsmen Tony Leighton (58) and
Mike Foreman (63) was attacked by a "hammerhead shark" ( approx. 9 ft = ca. 2,7 m ).
The shark was trying to bite the rudder blade. The incident lasted about 10 minutes.
Hammerhead has a go at Kintyre yachtsmen
Published: 19 December, 2008.
KINTYRE’S intrepid transatlantic yachtsmen Tony Leighton and Mike Foreman found themselves under attack from a nine-foot-long hammerhead shark, 900 miles from the safety of land.
The friends left Campbeltown on September 30 bound for the West Indies in the 35ft Blue Tarn, to join the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.
Skipper Mike Foreman, 63, from Carradale and Tony Leighton from Grogport, who celebrated his 58th birthday on board this week, looked over the side to see, in Tony’s words ‘a nine-foot hammerhead shark in the attack position (upside down) trying to bite the rudder blade’.
Mike and Tony were below, having morning coffee when the tiller snapped; they’d had a problem with the gear before so they went on deck expecting to discover the same problem, only to be met with a big surprise.
‘Our immediate thought was that the locking pin must have slipped into place causing the problem. Upon checking, we found the pin was OK. We then looked over the stern to check the rudder and you can imagine our increased heart rate when we saw the shark.’
Tony added: ‘It had obviously prevented the rudder from moving, which had caused the tiller to snap. We then pushed down the throttle to give us more speed and Mike started zig-zagging on the wheel. It took 10 minutes before it left us in peace.’
The tiller was repaired with epoxy and the intrepid pair sailed on and celebrated Tony’s birthday days later with ‘hats, games, jellies and no girls’.
Tony’s blog on mailsail.com has been compulsive reading for friends at Campbeltown Sailing Club and his wife Margaret said: ‘They telephoned us, to let us know they were OK after the shark, before we read it first on the blog.’
They expect to reach Rodney Bay, St Lucia, sometime this week and the pair will fly back home in time for Christmas and return to the Caribbean in February, for some island cruising with their wives and then bring the boat back home.