Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Yachting Range

GPS navigation blamed for midnight collision

by Sail-World Cruising on 1 Feb 2012
Torrent Bay where the incident occurred .. .
Once again the potential for inaccuracy when solely depending on GPS-based equipment has been illustrated. Three sailors who were using GPS for night navigation were forced to abandon their boat when it hit rocks not far from Nelson on the South Island of New Zealand this week.

The yacht Okiana was crewed by the owner Hugh McCrae, his son and a friend. Mc Crae told rescuers that they 'thought they were in the middle of the bay using their GPS', but they weren't and hit the rocks. It was a dark night and there wasn't much moon.


The yacht hit rocks near Pitt Head in Torrent Bay in the Abel Tasman National Park. They managed to get into inflatable boats after sending out a Mayday.

However, it was the sound that alerted local residents to the incident. They were lucky rescuers were at had, a Torrent Bay man who helped them ashore told The Dominion Post.

The trio on board the 12-metre Okiana were rescued at midnight on Sunday. Torrent Bay resident Chris Waide was watching the Australian Open tennis at a friend's place in Torrent Bay when he heard about the Okiana's mayday call. He used his work boat to get to the three men at Pitt Head.

'They were fairly distressed and quite disorientated. It was pitch black. There wasn't much of a moon. They would have wondered what the bloody hell happened,' he said.

Mr Waide said the men had grab-bags, a VHF radio and two inflatable boats. 'They had all the gear. They were definitely very well prepared. I picked up two, and another boat picked up one. We took them back to Torrent Bay and the local residents looked after them for the night.'

Mr Waide said the Okiana was lying on the reef and badly damaged. He said other boats had been written off after hitting rocks in the same place.

Mr Waide said Mr McCrae and his crew left Mana in Wellington a few days ago and were making their way to Fiordland. Torrent Bay was supposed to be a planned stopover, 'but they never quite made it'.

Mr Waide said they were 'three fairly unhappy boys', but it was lucky no-one was hurt. 'They're very lucky that it was this time of year and that there are a lot of people around. It could have been a lot worse.'

Torrent Bay resident Darryl Thomas also helped with the rescue. 'We were just sitting outside at about midnight, having a wee party, and we heard this bang. It was the flare going off,' he said.

Mr Thomas went inside, turned on his maritime radio, heard the Okiana's mayday call and went to help. 'By the time we got to them, they had two rubber boats and the captain, Hugh, was in one. His son and friend were in another one. They were probably bloody relieved to have us there.'

Mr Thomas said it was a 'clockwork rescue'. Back in Torrent Bay, he gave the men some dry clothes and 'a few drinks' and put them up 'next door.'

'We had them on shore pretty quick. I think they were really appreciative.' Mr Thomas said Mr McCrae was an experienced yachtie, who had bought the Okiana in July last year.

'Their aim was to go around Farewell Spit and carry on down the West Coast.'

Tasman District Council harbourmaster Steve Hainstock said the stricken boat was first thought to be a 15-metre launch. This was because Mr McCrae used an emergency beacon registered to that boat, which he also owned, rather than the Okiana. Mr McCrae was carrying both on board.

Maritime New Zealand spokesman Ross Henderson said carrying two emergency beacons was better than carrying no emergency communications at all.

He said boat owners needed to ensure that their beacons were registered with the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand and that their emergency contact details were kept up to date.

They should also let their contacts know where they were going and what their trip plans were, he said.

North Technology - Southern SparsNaiad/Oracle SupplierBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun
Newport Bermuda Race - High Noon takes honours
As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, the powerful 100-foot grand prix Comanche, to the surprise of many they were led by an unusual boat and crew. High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other entries.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to ban bottled water
Approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. The RQYS Management Committee has confirmed that approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. This will place the club as a leader in environmental impact management in Australia and around the world. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club earlier this year did likewise. Who’s next?
Posted on 16 Jun
SouthernFurl In-Boom furling systems withstand Sydney Hobart test
Southern Spars design team have developed the SouthernFurl Boom smaller budgets and yachts from 35-70 feet. Have you ever scared your family when you got stuck with too much sail up when you should be reefed? Southern Spars’ range of SouthernFurl booms are the answer – letting you reduce sail quickly and easily without leaving the safety of the cockpit.
Posted on 23 May
2016 Garda Trentino Olympic Week - Day 4
Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2016 draws near to the conclusion: the weather once again proves difficult. Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2016 draws near to the conclusion: the weather once again proves difficult. Tomorrow the medal race is scheduled for the Lasers and another two races for the three paralympic classes.
Posted on 13 May
CCA presents RCC Award to Scott and Mary Flanders
CCA has announced that Scott and Mary Flanders are the recipients of the organization’s 2015 Royal Cruising Club Trophy. The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has announced that Scott and Mary Flanders are the recipients of the organization’s 2015 Royal Cruising Club Trophy.
Posted on 22 Apr
Cyclone Winston Relief Fund – Help the people of Fiji
Sea Mercy is sending volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food and medical supplies to Fiji. Sea Mercy is once again sending our volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food, water and medical supplies and teams to Fiji.
Posted on 27 Feb
Golden Globe Race - 30 sailors from 12 countries named for challenge
Sailors from America, Britain and France head the preliminary entry list for the 2018 Golden Globe solo round the world Sailors from America, Britain and France head the preliminary entry list for the 2018 Golden Globe solo round the world race. The 29 men and one woman – have each paid an initial A$3,000 entry fee. Other entrants hail from Austria, Australia, Brazil, Estonia, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Russia and Switzerland.
Posted on 18 Feb
Passage making and the responsibility to others—World Cruising news
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 29 Jan