reaching-the-yachstman-030214One of the longest treks out to sea by a Coast Guard Flotilla in recent years followed the onpassing of a major Search and Rescue task to QF2 Brisbane by Brisbane Water Police. The job involved locating, reaching and rescuing a solo yachtsman who left NZ in December and struck both engine and sail troubles between Norfolk Island and Queensland.

With no power aboard, no means of getting further, no food (because his fridge wouldn't work with no power) and the batteries in his Satellite phone failing, he set off an EPIRB. AUSSAR pinned his location at some 50 nautical miles east of Southport in rough seas. AUSSAR managed to contact the solo yachtsman and offered a helicopter extraction but the sailor refused to leave his yacht.

QF2 Commander Steve Fleming says the Water Police decided that there was no imminent risk of life, and so they passed the job of going and getting this yacht to Brisbane Coast Guard because: "There was no other rescue asset available in South Queensland which had the endurance to reach and rescue this yachtsman."

At 1000 hours Commander Fleming, Deputy Flotilla Commander Allen Penman, Flotilla Training Officer Steve Creevey and Harvey Shore set off in QF2's 13m primary long-range rescue vessel CG- 29, first to Southport, and then straight out east to the reported location of this yacht.

The crew reached the yachtsman at 1600 hours, hooked up the tow and headed back to Southport where they arrived at 0500 hours the next morning. They arrived back at Manly at 0700 hours, 24 hours after they began an early morning 2-hour job towing a vessel to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron marine workshop before the trip out to sea.