Updated story from The Triton:
The 170-foot M/Y Lady Windridge, a charter yacht based in Ft. Lauderdale often used for corporate events and weddings, was hit by something overnight Saturday during its transit from New York to Florida.
The incident left cracks in the stern. While trying to repair the cracks, a 44-year-old crew member had two fingertips crushed. That man was airlifted off the yacht and the vessel pulled into Beaufort, N.C.
Exactly what hit the yacht is unknown. Kathleen Windridge, owner and CEO of the company, said that something hit the large swim platform off the stern and possibly got lodged underneath so that a subsequent wave caused the platform to rise. She said there were two hairline cracks above the waterline where the platform is welded to the aluminum yacht on both the port and starboard sides.
Lt. Lane Munroe of U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina quoted the incident report saying the vessel suffered a crack of 4-5 inches wide, 4-5 feet long and that they vessel was reportedly taking on 15 gallons a minute.
Though the vessel’s pumps could handle the water, Lt. Munroe said the Coast Guard was standing by in case conditions worsened.
“If it took on more water, that would sink the crack below the waterline and the rate would increase,” he said. “The Coast Guard response was a safety net.”
The vessel returned to port under its own power, with its crew safe. The only reason Capt. Danny Cruz called the Coast Guard, Windridge said, was because it is required to by law under its Certificate of Inspection on a vessel authorized to carry more than 12 passengers.
The vessel was expected to be inspected today and the swim platform possibly cut off tomorrow, Windridge said.
“My guys in dive suits went down and didn’t see anything, no stoving in, no holes, nothing,” she said. “When it happened, the captain said he felt a huge whomp at the back of the vessel. We really don’t know what it was.”