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Old 09-01-2009, 10:49 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,067

Many cruisers who are friends of Rod and Becky Nowlin will be saddened to read this account :-

We have sad news: Mahdi was hit by a Scandlines Ferry at 4 am on

8/24/09 while we were sailing from Sweden to Kiel. We were hit just

outside the port of Puttgarden, Germany on Fehrman Island. We were not

hurt but the boat is a complete loss. The ferry immediately launched a

rescue boat and they came over to us and made sure we were okay and

weren't sinking and then towed us into the port. Two days later Mahdi

started taking on water and was pulled out and sits in the port on a

cradle. We have spent the last week talking with lots of officials and

our lawyer plus working to take all our possessions off the boat. It

was not a fun experience but we were very grateful we didn't get hurt

and neither did our dog, Isis. Now, we are stuck here until things get

sorted out and we can do something to get a replacement. In the

meantime the ferry company has provided us with a car, an apartment and

a place to store our things until we can get them shipped home.

So, now we begin a new life, just not sure what it will be!

Best to all,

Rod & Becky


Footnote :

For those that don't know Rod & Becky Nowlin, SV Mahdi sailing with SV Gandalf in the Gulf of Aden were attacked by Pirates on the 8th March 2005 - Result = Gandalf rammed : TBoning one pirate's skiff while Rod on SV Mahdi opened fire at another with buckshot from his pump action 12 bore. Result :- Pirates decided they had bitten off more than they could chew, and dispersed.

2 1/2 months earlier MV Mahdi rode out the Great Tsunami in Nai Hahn Bay, Phuket - Thailand on the 26 December 2004.


If friends, who want to contact Rod and Becky, would like their email address please PM me and I will provide.

Here's a section of chart showing approximately where the Ferry and Mahdi collided near :-

54d 30' N x 11d 15' E

Click image for larger version

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Old 09-02-2009, 10:11 AM   #2
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Very sad news indeed.


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Old 09-02-2009, 04:37 PM   #3
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so good to hear that the crew is well and is taken care of.

But how terrible to loose the ship, that is your home!

The ferry traffic between Puttgarden (GER) and R dby (DEN) is indeed very dence and they are crossing the west-east-going main traffic in short intervals. Even at night! We use the ferry quite often - breathtaking to see how they zigzag through the traffic.

We have to cope with it some more years, but a bridge between Fehmarn and Lolland is planned, geological surveys are under way right now.

I know it is not fair to give advice now, but all others with a mast hights of under 23meters should take in consideration to pass through the Fehmarn Sund (a wonderful bridge worth seeing), south of the island of Fehmarn. Here you find a well buoied and lit fairway with practically no commertial traffic. Only drawback: Going east from Kiel you have to pass shooting ranges that are closed to all traffic when under operation. BUT even unter shooting hours you may use the KIEL-FEHMARN-WEG, but keep to the fairway. (More info on this sea area hopefully soon in the cruising wiki.)

And thank you MMNETSEA for your info - I'll get in touch with Rod and Becky rightaway !


If you have the time, you alwas have the right winds.

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Old 10-30-2009, 04:44 PM   #4
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...two months after the collision some more info on what happened:

As the Mahdi, under sail, was going west at about 7kn to pass between Fehmarn (Ger) and Lolland (Den) early in the morning (3 am) the Scandline ferry Schleswig-Holstein was leaving the harbour of Puttgarden going NNE with destination Rdby Havn (Den). At that point the Nowlins saw the ferry's starboard side. Then the Schleswig-Holstein turned to starboard, obviously in the intention to give way to a west going ship on the "Weg T" (way recommended for all traffic leaving and entering the eastern Baltic), but it seems as if the Schleswig-Holstein did not notice the Mahdi. The Nowlins then altered their course to starboard but they did not have a chance to escape and were hit abeam. The Mahdi turned to the side and lost the rigging as she finally turned upright again.

Help was on the scene soon as the Schleswig-Holstein stopped immediately and launched a boat. A working boat from a nearby drilling platform and the SAR craft stationed in Puttgarden came out to assist and towed the Mahdi into Puttgarden, where she is since then.

The Scandline Ferry company immediately arranged a vacation home for the Nowlins and a storage for their belongings and gear. As a structural loss the Mahdi is sitting on the dry in the harbour of Puttgarden and the legal investigations are still under way.


SY Aquaria
If you have the time, you alwas have the right winds.

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Old 02-27-2020, 10:10 PM   #5
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Do you have the contact details of Rod and Becky? Or can you pass them mine? I would like to tell them that good old Mahdi is afloat...
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Old 03-15-2020, 07:12 PM   #6
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We are glad to hear that Mahdi is afloat again. Our contact email is:
We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Rod & Becky
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Old 01-24-2023, 12:28 AM   #7
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That's why I love my steel hull. Search Yacht Gringo.

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