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Marine Resource 2016

Lost boat drifts clear across the Indian Ocean

by Lee Mylchreest on 7 Jan 2014
Leisure Cat similar to the one which made its own, unaided way across the Indian Ocean. SW
It didn't have sails but it made its way from Perth to Madagascar where it washed up on a beach near the island of Mayotte. The incredible journey, made by a Leisure Cat, manufactured by a local West Australian boat builder, was only realised when French officials recognised the Australian registration of the boat and contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) who started the process of tracking down the owner.

The manufacturers say that LeisureCat range 'was designed as a high-speed planing catamaran capable of delivering a comfortable and stable ride in adverse weather conditions'. Yes, indeed, although the speed was a little lacking in this case.



The owner, West Australian Stephen Knight, was amazed. 'I basically thought it would be on the bottom of the ocean somewhere, so to find it after all of this time is just unbelievable,' he told local news outlets.

'Obviously they float, so that's good for the manufacturers.'

'Looking at the photos, the boat's virtually perfectly intact, so it floated across the Indian Ocean without anyone seeing it or spotting it.'

When Stephen last saw his LeisureCat, it was upside down in rough seas at an island about 40 nautical miles off the Exmouth coast, 1,270kms north of Perth.

'It was at anchor during a camping trip to the island and what happened a big storm came in,' Mr Knight said.

'This was one of those super-cell storms, 40-knot winds and gusts at 60-knots, and basically it took the boat from its mooring and it took it about three miles out. We could still see it because it had it's anchor light on,'

'We watched it through the course of the whole night and we were on the phone to the authorities, but it was so severe they couldn't get up any planes.'

By the time the weather had settled, the boat had flipped but conditions were still too rough to tow the boat, so Stephen and his friends had to be rescued from the beach where he was camping and the boat left behind.

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