Marine safety investigations & reports

Knockdown, Windeward Bound, off Gabo Island, Victoria

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 3 June 2004, the Australian sail training ship Windeward Bound was off the Victorian coast, heading northeast at about six knots. The wind was from the northwest and the vessel was heeled between 10 and 15 degrees to starboard. The upper and lower topsails and the main and fore staysails were set. A cold front was expected that afternoon. The watch officer was assisted by a watch leader and two general purpose hands, one of whom was at the helm.

At 1726, when the ship was about 30 miles south of Gabo Island, the wind speed increased. The helmsman was instructed to run the vessel downwind. Shortly thereafter, the vessel yawed to port and the helmsman put the rudder hard over to starboard. The watch leader then took the helm and, as the vessel was now swinging to starboard, applied a 'considerable amount' of port rudder. When the vessel had started to swing to port, the watch leader put the rudder hard over to starboard to arrest the swing. A gust of near-hurricane force wind then heeled the vessel about 68 degrees to starboard.

The starboard side of the main deck was submerged and seawater entered a fuel tank through an open air pipe on deck. A quantity of seawater also entered the deckhouse and accommodation before doors to the deckhouse and accommodation were shut. The vessel was righted after several minutes using the main engine and rudder and by letting the sheets go.

There was a minor injury to a crew member during the incident and the main engine had been damaged after being run with little or no lubricating oil pressure when the vessel was heeled.

During the next twenty four hours contact was lost with authorities ashore. An air search was initiated in the afternoon on 4 June and Windeward Bound was found safe and heading for Jervis Bay, where it arrived late in the evening on 5 June.


MR20070019 | MR20070020 | MR20070021 | MS20070001|

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.4MB]
General details
Date: 03 June 2004   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1730 (UTC+10)    
Location: Bass Strait    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 15 June 2007   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Vessel details

Vessel details
Vessel Windeward Bound  
Flag Aus  
IMO State registered  
Type of operation Sail training  
Damage to vessel Nil  
Departure point Low Head, Tasmania  
Departure time 2045  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Minor: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 19 May 2016