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New Zealand yacht lost on reef off Venezuela

'Chinook Wind incident'    .

A New Zealand owned yacht, Chinook Wind, a 37ft Tayana, has been wrecked on a reef about 100 nautical miles from Bonaire in the ABC Islands of the Caribbean, off the coast of Venezuela.

The incident occurred at about 1.00am, but the boat owners, Dick and Ann Oliver were unable to contact anyone until the morning SSB sched. They were also unable to launch their inflatable dinghy or liferaft because of the coral reef.

They were then rescued by the Venezuelan Coastguard at approximately 10.30am. Both are safe and well, if shocked, but the yacht is unsalvageable. They were sailing in company with other yachts, but all were outside VHF range at the time of the incident.

Dick and Ann Oliver had spent the last two years sailing around the world and were making their way home to New Zealand when tragedy struck

The Olivers left Prickly Bay, Grenada last Saturday, bound for Cartegena in Colombia. The Venezuelan and Colombian coastline waters are known to be hazardous. On Monday night they hit Ave de Barlovento, the easternmost of the uninhabited Venezuelan island group of Las Aves (Islands of the Birds).

Unable to launch their inflatable dinghy they were obliged to swim to the rescue launch and were unable to take anything with them.

A Venezuelan Coast Guard spokesman said the couple was staying in the coastal town of La Guaira, 32km from the inland capital of Caracas.

The pair were experienced yachties, having already completed two Atlantic crossings on the same yacht.


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5:01 AM Thu 1 Mar 2012GMT


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