by Des Ryan
Two solo sailors have been rescued on the east coast of Australia in the last couple of days, one in Tasmania and one in Queensland. The Queensland incident occurred when the long time yachtie grounded his yacht off Stradbroke Island, while in Tasmania the Sydney woman's yacht dragged into the surf and started taking on water.
Veronique dragged in the night, beached in Anderson Bay in Tasmania
Police in north-east Tasmania told the ABC they faced difficult conditions to rescue a New South Wales woman from a stricken yacht last night.
A 56-year-old Sydney woman, who had been sailing from Sydney to Launceston in her 36ft vessel, Veronique, radioed for help about 10:00 AEDT when her yacht broke away from its anchor and started taking on water in high seas near Bridport, in Anderson Bay.
A rescue helicopter and boat were sent to the yacht and the woman was reached after police and local residents climbed down a cliff.
Inspector Darren Hopkins praised locals residents who helped with the rescue. 'We were confronted with some fairly difficult terrain to get to the stricken yacht and woman,' he said.
'Two crews were coming in from both directions with some locals and it took about an hour for us to walk and drive closer to where she was and fortunately, about 1 o'clock this morning, we were able to wade out to the yacht and rescue her from it.'
Yacht high and dry on Flat Rock
The woman was cold and wet and was taken to hospital for a check. Her 11-metre yacht was equipped with a radio, EPIRB and GPS device and police say without this safety equipment, she may not have been rescued so quickly.
'She had all the right safety gear, personal flotation devices, a working marine VHF radio, the all-important EPIRB which can help us pinpoint locations very quickly.
'So she had all the right equipment and that certainly contributed to her safety and us finding her quickly.'
The yacht has been abandoned and is likely to break up in heavy seas today.
A similar fate is forecast for the yacht of Owen Moorhouse, who is temporarily homeless but happy to be alive after grounding his 38-foot yacht on Flat Rock, north of Stradbroke Island, on Saturday night.
Solo sailor after rescue, with his yacht in the background
The long-time sailor, who lived on his 11.6m Roberts-class yacht, Sandpiper, was headed to Southport from Mooloolaba when he struck the rocky island about 7pm.
'Naturally, I'm not excited about my boat but happy to be alive,' he said yesterday.
A Brisbane coast guard vessel responded to his mayday call, with the AGL Rescue Helicopter from Maroochydore then winching him to safety.
Mr Moorhouse said he was able to step off the boat where it had become stuck on the rocks, but he had to be winched to safety when rough seas prevented the 8m CG22 coast guard vessel from moving close enough to pick him up.
'They were absolutely magnificent and the helicopter pilot and the crew of the helicopter were absolutely exceptional,' Mr Moorhouse said.