Cruiser on Sole Watch Disappears While Wife Sleeps

This sad story is a reminder to all boaters that even in broad daylight and calm seas, things can go wrong. A life jacket may have created a different outcome.

The search by rescue authorities for a yachtie missing off Sydney’s northern beaches since Sunday has now been suspended. The sailor, who was not wearing a life jacket, was on sole watch while his wife was asleep below decks. When she woke up she found her husband missing and raised the alarm.

The couple had left Sydney, Australia in their 36 ft. Beneteau fiberglass yacht about 10:30am on Sunday bound for Pittwater.

While it is not exactly known when the sailor fell overboard, his wife raised the alarm around lunchtime. The yacht had left Sydney in the morning, and the woman reported that she had seen her husband last about 45 minutes before she raised the alarm.

Water Police, Marine Rescue and lifesavers used 10 boats and helicopters in their search, which had to be stopped once the light failed. Police have towed the yacht to Careel Bay, near Avalon, with the distressed woman still aboard. A rescue helicopter spokesman said the woman’s distressed state and an apparently foreign accent, possibly European, had made it difficult to communicate with her.

Stephen Leahy from Westpac Rescue Helicopters said the search was scaled down overnight Sunday, but continued Monday morning.

Cold conditions and the possibility of hypothermia would have been a danger to the sailor, and the search was called off over 24 hours after he was reported missing.

Courtesy of www.sail-world.com.

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