First the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit answered the emergency call and steamed alongside the disabled yacht to provide shelter from the weather. Now Rescue authorities are experiencing language difficulties with the sailor aboard as the yacht is being towed to Lyttelton, in New Zealand.
A Canterbury Coastguard rescue team reached the 10m sloop Estelle about 50km off the Canterbury coast just before midday today and managed to get a rope aboard after a maritime emergency call about 9am.
Coastguard spokesman Jim Lilley told NZPA little was known about the yacht other than its apparently sole crew had reported engine failure.
The man appeared to have an 'eastern European accent' and had some difficulty understanding questions put to him by rescue authorities.
'There's a language problem and it's been a little difficult to confirm details,' Mr Lilley said.
Only one person appeared to be aboard the yacht, but Mr Lilley said volunteers aboard the 20m coastguard rescue vessel had been unable to confirm this with the yachtsman while under tow.
'We've tried repeatedly to ask him how many people are aboard and he comes back and tells us the sun is shining.'
The rescue, about 70km northeast of Christchurch, was co-ordinated through the Wellington-based Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ).
Sail-World can't wait to see how many crew the sailing boat has once they get to port. Click Here
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