A weedy seabed may have been the cause of an experienced Victorian crew's narrow escape when their yacht grounded in severe weather on rocks at East Kangaroo Island, just to the east of Flinders Island in Bass Strait.
East Kangaroo anchorage on a calm evening - but known to have a weed over sand bottom
Bruce and Sharon Rodwell from Warranwood, east of Melbourne, were circumnavigating Tasmania when their yacht ran aground on East Kangaroo Island in Bass Strait.
Mal Larson from Australian Sea and Rescue says the couple activated an emergency beacon, which was detected about 3:15am Monday (6th Feb) morning.
The weather was too rough to launch a rescue boat, so a police helicopter was sent to their aid. The couple were able to get themselves from their boat onto East Kangaroo Island itself where the helicopter winched them to safety.
Acting Sergeant Scott Bailey says the rough weather probably contributed to the grounding.
'The high winds last night certainly caused a fair bit of grief for everyone and I'm only assuming that's what's caused them to run aground,' he said.
Mr Rodwell is a member of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria and the couple were well prepared with safety equipment and weather-proof clothing.
They were taken to the Whitemark Medical Centre on Flinders Island suffering from mild hypothermia. Sadly, continuing rough seas and high winds are preventing the couple's yacht from being salvaged.
The anchorage at East Kangaroo Island is known to be weed over sand, making it hard for some anchors to grip in rough weather.