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Australian entrant in Golden Globe Race rescued after yacht wrecked near Nelson

by Richard Gladwell 7 Nov 14:28 GMT 8 November 2021
Dreamcatcher broke up the two days after running ashore © Michael Davey

An entrant in the Golden Globe Race, has been wrecked in Shag Harbour in Abel Tasman National Park, after being driven ashore in a 40kt gale on Monday night.

Michael Davey (60) had just completed a non-stop circumnavigation of the North Island of New Zealand as a qualifying voyage for the singlehanded round the world race.

Davey, from Adelaide, had undertaken a major refit of the 36ft yacht for the race which is due to start from Les Sables d’Olonne in France in early September 2022. It has attracted 18-20 competitors.

"After having completed a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the North Island of New Zealand, as part of her extended sea trials and as her qualifying sail for the GGR, it is with immense sadness that I advise the Dreamcatcher was driven onto the cliffs in Tasman Bay just before midnight, last Monday, during a gale," Davey reported on social media.

NewstalkZB reported that Davey was driven onto the lee-shore around midnight amid 40-knot winds. He set off a personal locator beacon to alert the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand, who tasked the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter and Coastguard Nelson.

The rescue helicopter arrived at the scene first at about 12.30am with pilot Colby Tyrrell.

"We were told an 11-metre yacht had run aground," Tyrrell told NewstalkZB.

"We were able to talk to him over the radio and he had managed to get himself off the yacht and onto the shoreline".

Davey was winched from the rocks and returned uninjured to the rescue helicopter base in Nelson.

"Initial hopes of possible salvage were quickly dispelled as the pounding by high seas over the next 48 hours shattered her to pieces," Tyrrell said.

Coastguard Nelson skipper Geoff Eban told NewstalkZB that the 40-knot winds made for a challenging trip.

"There was quite the storm out there last night. There was a gale warning out further in Tasman Bay and we experienced some pretty big seas which slowed us down a bit," Eban said.

"It was deemed too difficult and dangerous to recover the yacht and by 4.30am we were stood down," he said.

"I count myself particularly fortunate to have escaped physically unharmed," Davey said in tribute to his rescuers. "This was in large part due to the professionalism and dedication of the heli-rescue team and the Coastguard men and women who were prepared to consider a sea-based rescue, despite the treacherous conditions, should the aerial evacuation from the cliffs prove impossible."

"With great regret, therefore, I must withdraw as an entrant to the 2022 Golden Globe Race."

"With broken heart I grieve the loss of a beautiful boat ... and with her a dream."

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