Drifting yacht rescued off South Solitary Island by Coffs Harbour Marine Rescue

On the rope towing the 15.25m Bavaria mono yacht.


A LESSON to learn for all boat owners was played out for the Coffs Harbour community as our local Marine Rescue team was called out early in the morning a couple of weeks ago.

Graham Taylor, recognised as a long service volunteer for Marine Rescue NSW told News Of The Area, “Thursday 2 December at 4.15am Marine Rescue Coffs Harbour received a message that a 15-metre yacht was drifting out of control in rough seas six kilometres northeast of South Solitary Island.

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“The duty crew for the Coffs Harbour 10-metre rescue vessel, Coffs30, were under way, before dawn, to assist the three persons on the drifting yacht which was being blown further away from Coffs Harbour by a strong southerly wind.”

The crew on Coffs30, coxswain Graham Taylor, Paul McLeod, David Oliver and Steve Aspey, located the drifting yacht approximately two hours after receiving the call out.

“We attached the tow line to the disabled yacht and began the long, slow tow back to Coffs Harbour against big waves whipped up by the strong wind.”

After four and a half hours the yacht was safely anchored in Coffs Harbour and an ill person ferried ashore.

“These were the roughest seas I’ve been out on in 15-years’ service.

“The lady on board was ‘sick as a dog’, which was not surprising, it was certainly the conditions for feeling seasick.”

Graham learned that the yacht was on its first voyage for the skipper and had stood idle for 18 months on the Gold Coast.

The diesel fuel had started to gel in the bottom of the fuel tank.

The rough seas stirred up the gel in the tank which blocked the fuel filters and stopped the motor.

According to Graham’s experience, more than 50% of the vessels that Marine Rescue Coffs Harbour have to assist, that are transiting up or down the coast, have recently been purchased and are being moved to a new location.

Marine Rescue advises all new boat owners to check their vessels thoroughly before leaving on a long voyage and carry essential spare parts and tools onboard.

“We suggest taking the vessel on a short local trip before setting off on a long journey, to check things out and make it safe.”

The skipper of the rescued vessel gave thanks for their rescue by kindly donating $100 to Coffs Harbour Marine Rescue.




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