'Magnificent' pioneering Gosport racing yacht crashes into unidentified floating object in the Atlantic Ocean before crew escape to safety

A ‘MAGNIFICENT’ Gosport racing yacht crashed into an unidentified floating object in the Atlantic Ocean causing it to sink.

By Steve Deeks
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 1:32 pm

Pioneering 52ft boat Tulikettu has been lost in the north Atlantic after the incident on April 18 when it was sailing from Cascais, Portugal, back to the team base in Gosport.

A desperate rescue operation saw all four crew members winched to safety two days later after an oil tanker was diverted to help the stricken vessel.

Tulikettu, which was only launched in October, had to be abandoned at sea.

Pioneering Gosport racing boat Tulikettu. Pic Tulikettu Racing

A salvage operation was launched on April 21 after a high-powered tug was sent to search the area with help from a spotter plane.

But despite the search efforts, it was called off eight days later

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Designed by Hugh Welbourn, the Infiniti 52 is the first foil assisted high performance/racing yacht developed for semi-custom production and is fitted with a Dynamic Stability Systems (DSS) to boost speed.

A statement from Tulikettu said: ‘It is with profound sadness that we write to inform you that Tulikettu, our magnificent 52ft racing yacht, has been lost at sea. Our delivery crew is safe, sound and unharmed.

‘Tulikettu was abandoned after a collision with an unidentified floating object, and after a weeklong search, we have been unable to find her.

‘While we are devastated, we will recover and return to the offshore yacht racing circuit stronger than ever. Rest assured, that our beloved Tulikettu Team will race again, lighting up the seas in the future.

Arto Linnervuo, Tulikettu Racing team owner, said they would ‘be back’ before adding: ‘We managed to sail almost 5,000 nautical miles aboard our magnificent yacht, which was long enough time to conclude that the new Infiniti 52 exceeded all our expectations for the performance of the boat.

‘I will never forget the feeling when Tulikettu leaned on its foil and lifted herself above the waves for the first time reaching effortlessly speeds of 28 knots without help from surf waves, and the wind speed didn’t come even close to our boat speed back then.

‘I have been through many sleepless nights as I have wondered what else we could have done to find our beautiful new beast. Very slowly my thoughts are beginning to look at the future, which gives me strength in this devastating situation.

‘Losing such a revolutionary vessel that had attracted so much attention and interest across the global sailing community is, after many years’ work, one of the most difficult moments in my life.

‘But giving up on our goals and my dream to win something big together with my all-Finnish offshore racing team on the international grand prix offshore racing scene would be much worse.’

Sty Bannatyne, Tulikettu Racing team’s coach, said: ‘I was in total shock and saddened to hear about the loss of Tulikettu.

‘The few times I sailed on the boat during early sea trials were truly exciting and she gave more than a few glimpses of her very impressive performance through a range of conditions.

‘Tulikettu was a genuine step forward in technology and performance for an offshore 52 foot race boat.’