Two die in sailing wreck of former New Zealand maxi yacht

PriceWaterhouseCoopers - competing in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race

A racing yacht built for a Kiwi Rich Lister was yesterday wrecked on rocks off the New South Wales coast, killing its new owner and his crewman.

Rotorua-educated millionaire Neville Crichton sold his 24.4m yacht Shockwave to his close friend of 10 years, Andrew Short; today he is grieving the loss of that mate, 'Shorty', one of Australia's best-known yachtsmen.

'The sea is very unforgiving, and if you make any sort of mistake out there you pay for it very dearly,' Crichton told the Herald on Sunday.

Shockwave crashed into rocks at Flinders Islet off Port Kembla around 3am local time.

Rescuers had to battle 2.3m waves in the dark to pluck 15 crew off the tiny island by helicopter winch during the three hour rescue operation. Another crewman was plucked from the raging sea by water police.

The 16 surviving crew members, including a 14-year-old boy, were taken to Wollongong hospital suffering minor injuries and hypothermia.

But Short, 48, of The Spit, and crew member Sally Gordon, 47, of Darling Point, were pulled from the water unconscious early this morning. They could not be revived.

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