Colin James of Brunswick Heads surveys the Scotch Bonnet washed up on Brunswick Heads main beach after being abandoned while on its way from New Zealand to Sydney.
Colin James of Brunswick Heads surveys the Scotch Bonnet washed up on Brunswick Heads main beach after being abandoned while on its way from New Zealand to Sydney. Cathy Adams

Drama on high seas

IMAGINE being on a 10m yacht right in the middle of the Tasman Sea, 1000km from New Zealand and 1000km from Australia, when a huge storm hits.

That was the situation facing owner Andrew Glover and the crew of the Scotch Bonnet in October last year.

"We had just set sail in September when we got caught in this huge storm and part of the rigging broke," Mr Glover said.

"It was a pretty scary thing.

"But we were more shocked than anything, because we'd spent 10 months fixing the yacht and this was something that just shouldn't have happened.

"One minute we were sailing along with the mast up and the sails up.

"Then, in the blink of an eye, it all went wrong."

Mr Glover and his crew set off their EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) device and were eventually rescued by a container ship.

The decision had to be made to leave the yacht behind.

"We talked through the options," he said.

"But we just didn't have enough fuel any more to make it back to New Zealand or to get to Sydney.

"It was devastating to have to leave her out there."

In fact, despite one sighting by the cruise ship the Sun Princess in December last year, nothing had been seen of the Scotch Bonnet.

That is, until just last week.

The Scotch Bonnet washed up on the beach at Brunswick Heads last Wednesday night.

Police, surf lifesavers, a Marine Rescue Ballina crew and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter were all called to the scene as it was at first believed that there might have been a crew on board.

The empty yacht remained on the beach until Mr Glover was able to send a salvage crew, which has retrieved the boat.

"It was just so amazing to see it again," he said.

"I had given up hope.

"It's hard to believe it, but we got the truck down, got her on it and she's now in Sydney.

"Salvaging a yacht is phenomenally expensive, but it had to be removed from the beach."

So will Mr Glover sail the seas on the Scotch Bonnet once more?

"There's some hope of that," he said.

"But it will certainly take some time to get her back into shape."



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