Ballina sailor in Sydney-Hobart rescue

DRAMA on the high seas made this year's Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race all the more exciting for Ballina sailor Michael Cocks.

Mr Cocks was one of 16 crew on board the yacht Telecominabox Merit when they responded to a mayday call from another competitor, Georgica, at 9.30pm on the first day.

The 16m yacht had suffered a broken rudder stock and was taking on water.

Mr Cocks said Merit was the closest boat.

“We pulled our sails down and motored towards them,” he said.

The Georgica's 14 crew boarded Merit and were taken to meet a police boat. The rescue took eight hours.

“Everybody was happy, healthy and fine,” he said.

Telecominabox Merit came 29th in the race, but their position will be readjusted to allow for the rescue.

Mr Cocks, who was responsible for putting up and trimming the yacht's sails, said the race was a lot of fun.

Telecominabox Merit arrived in Hobart at 3pm yesterday. The crew spent last night celebrating at the well-known yachty hang-out, Customs House in Hobart.

He will travel back to Ballina in time to spend New Year's Eve with his wife Kristy, and sons Josiah, 7, and Xavier, 3.

Line honours went to four-time winner Wild Oats XI.



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