Wed, Nov 3, 2021 12:01 PM

Daring midnight rescue for yachtie stuck in storm

A yachtie was winched to safety just after midnight last night after his boat ran aground near Awaroa. Photo: file.

Erin Bradnock

A man was winched to safety after his yacht ran aground east of Awaroa, Abel Tasman in the early Wednesday morning.

The yacht had run into rock in Shag Harbour around midnight amid 40-knot winds. Thankfully the one yachtsman on board was able to use a personal locator beacon to alert the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand.

Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter and Coastguard Nelson were tasked with the rescue, the rescue helicopter arrived at the scene first at about 12.30am with pilot Colby Tyrrell at the helm.

"We were told an 11-metre yacht had run aground," says Colby.

"We were able to talk to him over the radio and he had managed to get himself off the yacht and onto the shoreline".

The man was winched from the rocks and returned uninjured to their Nelson base.

Meanwhile, Coastguard Nelson was steering through rough seas to get the wreck.

Coastguard skipper Geoff Eban on board the rescue last night says the 40-knot winds made for a challenging trip.

"There was quite the storm out there last night. There was a gale warning out further in Tasman Bay and we experienced some pretty big seas which slowed us down a bit," says Geoff.

"Thankfully the heli had done its thing and rescued the passenger, it would have been a difficult rescue by sea".

Coastguard stayed on the scene with the Tasman District Council Harbourmaster to inspect the safety of the boat wreck.

"It was deemed too difficult and dangerous to recover the yacht at that point and by 4.30am we were stood down to come back," says Geoff.

The 40-knot winds continued through the night, Geoff says the south-easterly wind was directly coming behind the yacht and pushing it against the rocks.