The May Day radio call burst through the early morning quiet at “Hill 60”, the Marine Rescue Port Kembla Search and Rescue base at 3.36am this morning (Sat 8 Oct).
A yacht with 14 crew aboard had run aground on Bellambi Reef, north of Wollongong as it competed in the Cruising Yacht Club’s annual Sydney to Flinders Islet race.
NSW Police Marine Area Command immediately activated a Water Police vessel, Marine Rescue vessel Port Kembla PK 30 and a Police helicopter. The rescuers located the yacht at Bellambi Reef where it was immobilized with a rope fouling its propellor so its engine could not be used to try and get the vessel off the reef.
A tow line was secured and the Marine Rescue crew was able to pull the yacht clear. An inspection showed that no water was being taken on board and that all crew were safe and well.
The yacht was towed to safety in Port Kembla by PK 30.
The incident reminded all involved of the tragic outcome in the same race two years ago when Sydney boating identity Andrew Short and navigator Sally Gordon died when the yacht Shockwave hit Flinders Islet and broke up in heavy seas.