8 Feb 2015

Man dies during sailing regatta

4:05 pm on 8 February 2015

A man has died after falling off a sailing boat during a regatta at Plimmerton north of Wellington.

He was competing this morning in the Noelex 22 national championship, hosted by the Plimmerton Boating Club.

Police said the man was with two others on the small boat when he fell overboard.

His crew circled back straight away, but were unable to find him.

His body was found wearing a lifejacket that had failed to inflate, about 30 minutes later, police said.

The club's commodore Matt Hipperson said conditions were "near perfect" and there were about 16 boats which were more than happy with the conditions.

He said the wind was about 15-25 knots - well within typical sailing conditions.

"It was a bit of a shock for all the crews organisers involved and we're all in a bit of a state of mourning.

"All the safety procedures were followed correctly, but this is just a tragic accident.

"The event was cancelled as soon was we realised something was wrong."

The death has been referred to the coroner.