Boat dismasted and low on fuel

A sailor has refused to abandon his dismasted yacht despite the prompting of rescue services.

The 60-year old European sailor set off an EPIRB last Tuesday after the 39ft (12m) yacht was dismasted en route from Tonga to the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Rescuers were unable to establish radio contact and dispatched a fixed-wing plane to search for the yacht. Once located, a helicopter was dispatched in 30-knot winds and lowered a winchman.

The sailor was told this was his only opportunity to be rescued by air and taken to shore, but he replied that he didn’t want to abandon his boat. He said the only assistance that he needed was of fuel, and he hoped to obtain some from a passing commercial vessel.

A commercial vessel was diverted to his last known position to help him re-fuel, but was unable to find the yacht. Its position remained unknown until Friday, when he set off his EPIRB for a second time. Rescuers were able to drop him a radio and arrange a rendezvous.

Image:Mark Going.
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