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South Pacific: Four rescued, yacht abandoned southwest of Fiji

By Sue Richards last modified Nov 12, 2010 09:53 AM

Published: 2010-11-12 09:53:39
Countries: Fiji , New Zealand

Fri, 5 Nov 2010
By Adam Ray/Sail-World Cruising

3News in New Zealand has reported that four sailors from New Zealand have been rescued from the Pacific Ocean by a container ship, after their yacht's rudder was damaged by a massive wave, and their yacht has been abandoned.

The crew of the Midori sent out a mayday call about 500 nautical miles southwest of Fiji, when the wave smashed their rudder. The sailors were drifting on the ocean for nearly two days, before they were finally picked up.

There is no indication at this early stage as to why they were unable to steer using their sails.

The four men, all from Auckland, were rescued by the container ship Pacific Independence.

Midori left Fiji last week, headed for Auckland. Three days into the trip, the boat was hit by heavy seas.

On Friday a wave, believed to have been between six and seven metres, struck the vessel, ripping off its rudder.

The crew, which included owner Bill Young, alerted New Zealand’s Rescue Co-Ordination Centre. Officials diverted the Pacific Independence towards the Midori as the crew tried to fix the rudder. After 30 hours and with the container ship circling, they decided to abandon their yacht.

By the time the container ship was able to rescue the four, the floor of their life raft had already collapsed and heavy seas made the rescue more difficult.

All four men are now safely back in Auckland.

The Midori was last seen drifting toward New Caledonia and a decision on whether the boat will be salvaged hasn’t been made.