Marine group in dramatic sea rescue
■ Exmouth Volunteer Marine Rescue Group responded to a call for help from 12m-yacht Cracklin Rosie when her mast broke at 2.45am on September 30.
The yacht was stranded 20 nautical miles west of Yardie Creek on the North West Cape with three men, Donald Burnside, Jim Murray and Jim Crossland, all in their 60s, on board.
No one was injured during the incident and the yacht remained upright and watertight throughout.
The men had bought the Cracklin Rosie in Hervey Bay, Queensland, and were sailing her around the top end of Australia to Perth when the incident occurred.
EVMRG deputy commander George Simmons skippered rescue vessel Ningaloo Endeavour 60 nautical miles from Exmouth to the yacht with fellow EVMRG volunteers John Beer and Rosco Gardan.
EVMRG commander Rusty Ellis was not in Exmouth when the incident occurred, but maintained radio contact with the crew throughout the rescue.
Strengthening winds slowed the Endeavour to 10 knots as she made her way to the stricken vessel, eventually arriving about 10am.
Mr Simmons said 1.5m of the yacht’s mast, with sails still attached, was dragging in the water.
“Lines hanging in the water were wrapped around the rudder and we were concerned steel cables could become tangled in the yacht’s propellers and cause damage so the yacht’s engines could not be started,” he said.
The rescue crew took heavyduty boltcutters with them in the hope of cutting the cables loose, but Mr Simmons said the seas were too big so he decided to tow the yacht to land with the sails streaming out in the water behind it.
At first, The Endeavour crew towed the yacht at six knots, but when the tow rope broke they were forced to decrease speed to just four knots, taking six-and-ahalf hours to reach the nearest safe mooring at Tantabiddi Boat Ramp at 5pm.
The Endeavour crew then made their way back to Exmouth, arriving just after 6pm.