New Zealand: Intense Weather System Results in Yachting Tragedy

An intense low pressure weather system that hit New Zealand this week has tragically led to the loss of a yacht and the death of a sailor. 

Published 3 years ago

Weather map showing the low pressure system which affected New Zealand – from the website.

On Monday afternoon, 14 October, a 47 ft yacht with four people on board made a distress call when it was about 20 NM north of Cape Brett on the north east coast of the North Island.

At the time, the weather system hitting the country was generating strong winds and heavy swells.  The four sailors had lost their life-raft from the yacht in the rough conditions and were abandoning their vessel.  

Coastguard NZ’s Northern Region reported on their Facebook page that rescue services were immediately dispatched by the Maritime NZ Rescue Coordination Centre.  These included Coastguard Bay of Islands’ Bay Rescue II, a Navy SeaSprite helicopter, an Air Force Orion aircraft and the Westpac Rescue – Auckland helicopter.

The Orion located four people in the water around 14:47 and dropped a raft to them.   The Westpac Rescue helicopter was then able to winch the sailors from the water around 15:45. Coastguard Bay of Islands reported five to six metre swells and winds gusting from 40 to 50 kts.

Unfortunately, one of the sailors did not survive the ordeal.  One person is still in hospital while the other two have been released.

The yacht, named Essence, was from Tauranga and was returning to New Zealand from Fiji. Unfortunately, she ran into the low pressure system approaching the Bay of Islands.

The dead sailor has been named as Stuart Pedersen, a well known and respected sailor from the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club.

Further reading:

More information is available on the Radio New Zealand website.

This NZ Herald report contains dramatic video footage of the rescue.

Weather is the governing factor in Passage planning from the Pacific to New Zealand.

Our thanks to Patricia from Gulf Harbour Radio for passing on details about this incident.

Related to following destinations: ,

Related to the following Cruising Resources: , , , , , ,

You must Login or Register to submit comments.

  1. October 30, 2019 at 9:32 AM
    sycheckmate says:

    So near, and yet so far. A tragedy. Great sailors, great people. Condolences to the family.
    A trying mission and tribute to the rescuers who did their best in atrocious conditions.