At the end of a long but successful voyage across the Pacific, two long-range cruising sailors had to be airlifted to safety by RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue after their yacht ran aground Llewellyn Reef early the morning of July 3rd, just short of the Australian coastline.
RACQ was notified at 5:30 a.m. of a distress beacon that had been detected going off near Llewellyn Reef, approximately 90Nm off the coast of Gladstone, and dispatched Rescue 300 to investigate.
En route to the site, RACQ learned that the yacht, the Pacific Vision, had run aground on the reef and had been taking on water. The vessel had begun breaking up.
It was reported that the two people on board the yacht, a 45-year-old male and a 30-year-old female, had been sailing the yacht from San Diego to Bundaberg, but the incident occurred considerably north of their presumed track.
The duo ran into trouble during the night after their mainsail was torn, reducing their ability to maneuver. They attempted to avoid the reef but were pushed onto it by the current, and further attempts to get the yacht off the reef failed after the mast broke.
The yacht remained on the reef for a period of time before it began taking on water and breaking up. Then the pair abandoned the yacht and got into a life raft.
By the time RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue arrived at around 7:20 a.m., the life raft had drifted about one mile away from the yacht, which was still resting on the reef. The survivors then attracted the attention of the aircraft by setting off flares.
A rescue crewman was lowered down to the life raft, and the two sailors were hoisted onto the aircraft. The pair were flown to Rockhampton in good health, and were taken to Rockhampton Base Hospital, as a precaution, to be checked by doctors.
The yacht has remained stranded on the reef.
Courtesy of www.sail-world.com.