2 Aug 2015

Double mishap leads to yacht rescue

4:17 pm on 2 August 2015

One of the men onboard a yacht which had to be rescued off Wellington's south coast says the vessel had two simultaneous mishaps.

The Salena docking at Chaffers marina.

The Salena docking at Chaffers marina. Photo: Supplied

Bill Cook was sailing his 40 foot yacht, Salena, with his son Rowan Cook and step-son Will Tong when weather conditions worsened.

"Unfortunately we had two catastrophes within five minutes. The prop sheared off the back of the top of the top-shaft so we lost our motorised propulsion and then about five minutes later, because the wind got up, it wrapped our spinnaker halyard around our furling genoa so we couldn't use our front sails and so we were in a very bad situation."

Mr Cook sent out a pan-pan call - which is one step from a mayday call - just before 7am today and they had to wait an hour before someone came.

A nearby fishing boat, the Bonny Kay, responded first and towed the boat towards Wellington and closer to land to find shade behind some hills.

"The wind speed got up to 70 knots. When wind acts on sea at 70 knots it became quite serious and the fishing boat let us go because we were actually sailing and broaching and the coast guard picked us up.

"Everything held together and the coast guard came and everything was fine," said Mr Cook.

The police boat, Lady Elizabeth IV, took over the towing and brought the yacht safely back to Wellington Harbour.

Now back on dry land, Bill Cook said it was a reminder of the dangers of the sea.

"I'm warm now. It was pretty bloody cold before, we got very wet. Very exciting, and scary. The sea can be really nasty sometimes, especially when two things happen at the same time which means you have no propulsion."

Now being dried out, his son Rowan is set to live in the yacht having just returned from San Francisco four days ago.