Couple rescued from 20-foot waves after boat rudder breaks off

  • Couple rescued from 20-foot waves after boat rudder breaks off

Couple rescued from 20-foot waves after boat rudder breaks off

They activated an emergency beacon when the yacht "rolled" after the rudder had broken previously in high seas.

An Irishman and a French woman on Thursday told of "waves the size of buildings" after being rescued from a terrifying ordeal when their yacht capsized in wild weather off Australia.

In six metre swells and gale-force southerly winds, the Nemesis travelled 200NM to reach the yacht at 8.30am yesterday morning, Wednesday 8 March.

Nick Dwyer, 55, and Barbara Heftman, 44, were sailing from New Zealand to Sydney as part of a years-long circumnavigation of the globe when disaster struck.

Mr Dwyer said it's been their home for the last 10 years and they're not sure what they'll do next.

He added: "Every wave that hit you, we're wondering "is this the one that's going to take you out"?"

The couple said there were waves the size of buildings, and winds so strong they couldn't stand.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority used a jet to drop off additional communications equipment but the two sailors were unable to retrieve it due to the treacherous conditions. "We weren't at all confident of coming through that and we were looking death in the eye, frankly", he told Australia's Nine Network. I really think that the crew of the Nemesis who went out there, knowing what they were going into, who went to look after some complete strangers, really are absolute heroes.

"So when they got to that position we knew conditions on board were pretty awful". "You can't put that into words".

AMSA has been in regular contact with the yacht since Saturday, 4 March, after they informed the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) of the breakage.