Sailors blown away

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

A hand­ful of teenage sailors had to be res­cued last Wed­nes­day af­ter a fierce southerly wind scat­tered their dingy sail­boats in front of Plim­mer­ton Boat­ing Club.

Twenty- five sailors from around Welling­ton, all about 13 years old, were lin­ing up for a race in the an­nual Welling­ton Schools Re­gatta when a blast of wind at 3pm sent them in all di­rec­tions.

‘‘They didn’t have much choice be­cause the wind was so strong,’’ Plim­mer­ton Boat­ing Club man­ager San­dra Mcgill says. She es­ti­mates the wind rose from still to about 30 knots (55 kilo­me­tres an hour) in a few min­utes.

There were 23 boats on the har­bour, most manned by a sin­gle sailor, all small dinghies like Op­ti­mists, Star­lings and Fevers, Ms Mcgill says.

A southerly was fore­cast but the morn­ing had been wind­less, so the club al­lowed sailors on the water, she says.

‘‘It was ex­pected but it wasn’t ex­pected how it hap­pened.’’

All sailors were wear­ing life­jack­ets and the club’s res­cue boats were on hand to as­sist the sailors when the weather hit. Some needed tow­ing back to shore, and some needed help to get their boats up­right af­ter be­ing blown side­ways, Ms Mcgill says.

A few of the teens washed up in Hon­goeka Bay and were shel­tered in the lo­cal marae un­til they were picked up.

Re­ac­tions among the sailors var­ied, Ms Mcgill says.

‘‘Some were a lit­tle bit freaked out but there were plenty of peo­ple help­ing. They were fine.’’

Oth­ers en­joyed the ride, she says.

‘‘ Some had some awe­some speeds, in that wind. They were fly­ing.’’

Help at hand: Res­cue boats reach one of the sailors. On­looker John Chip­per said the fleet was scat­tered ‘‘like pa­per on the wind’’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.