Bundaberg Volunteer Marine Rescue has undertaken two missions to help a stricken vessel in treacherous sea conditions.
In the early hours of Friday morning, VMR Bundaberg received a call from two people on board a 9m twin-hulled sailing vessel who advised they may need assistance to enter the river due to poor weather conditions and trouble with the engine of their vessel.
A crew of volunteers was placed on standby and awaited further advice.
“At around 9am, the vessel reported that they were continuing to battle deteriorating sea conditions but were unlikely to reach the Burnett River until Saturday and indicated that assistance may not be required,” a VMR spokesperson said.
“The crew were advised to standdown however remain contactable if possible.”
At 11am the VMR radio room operator made a welfare call to the sailing vessel and although conditions were continuing to deteriorate the vessel master reported all was well.
“At 3pm, we received a call for assistance from the vessel,” VMR posted on Facebook.
“In addition to the broken motor, they had now suffered a mast failure coupled with a shredded sail.
“Weather conditions had worsened considerably, with a strong wind warning current with seas to 2-3m and visibility down to approximately a quarter mile.”
Within the hour, Bundy Rescue with seven crew onboard was on its way to provide assistance to the stricken vessel.
Due to the rough sea conditions Bundy Rescue was only able to make around 8 knots and it was unable to travel directly to the vessel due to sea conditions.
By the time Bundy Rescue arrived, the vessel had drifted another two nautical miles to the north.
Bundy Rescue reached the stricken vessel at around 5.30pm and the seas had increased to 4m and the wind up to 25 knots.
In the windy conditions the vessel was subsequently taken under tow with a return speed of 4 knots and into the prevailing seas.
“Several stops were made on the return trip to allow the master of the stricken vessel to secure loose sails and deck items,” a VMR spokesperson said.
“By approximately 9.30pm the vessel was safely anchored in the river and Bundy Rescue returned to base at around 10pm.”
The following day at 7am a welfare call was made to the sailing boat, with the vessel master reporting that his anchored had been suffered damage and that he was now only meters from the rock wall on the north side of the river.
Bundy Rescue was immediately dispatched with three crew onboard and again took the vessel under tow to a new anchorage closer to the Bundaberg Port Marina.
The VMR volunteers who assisted in the rescue of the stricken sailing vessel were skipper Mat with crew of Jim W, Les C, Eric B, Darryl C, Rob W and Rod S with Bill K on radio.
- Other news: Abundance of scallops for Tasty Street Food's tacos