Good story, glad he's safe n sound. Sounds like a good call to hit the button. It's a pity the rescue
videos always look like mild conditions.
Renowned Australian sailor Jon Sanders has blamed the once-in-a-decade swell impacting the West Australian coast for sinking his yacht Saturday night, sparking a rescue operation.
The world-record holding sailor was skippering a vessel for a friend from Darwin to Fremantle when it started taking on water
about 10 kilometres off the coast of Kalbarri.
Mr Sanders activated his EPIRB device for help, attracting the attention of the Australian Maritime Safety
Authority, which sent out a rescue plane and two merchant vessels.
Mr Sanders was recovered safe and well by a Mid West-based vessel and is resting in Geraldton after making landfall just before 5:00am.
He said the seas were extremely rough, punching a hole in the deck
of the yacht.
"It looked like two skin fittings had come away leaving two holes," he said.
"I blocked it first with a screwdriver and rags, then tried soft wooden plugs but couldn't do that.
Jesse Bailey (l) and boat master Lance Dennis rescued John Sanders (c) after his yacht started taking on water
off WA's Gascoyne coast. (ABC News: Bonnie Christian)
"Eventually I got two bolts in it with a special putty that sets in water and that seemed to hold it, so I put my emergency
pump in that bay. That removed the water but it was also coming from elsewhere.
"It was coming in faster than pump could cope — the floorboards were floating.
"Whether I liked it or not, I sent an emergency
He said the ordeal lasted two-and-a-half hours before he was finally rescued.
"Amazing job these guys did — they backed up to the boat and came alongside," he said.
"The footage looks quite mild but the sea was quite confused, very huge and I thought 'Geez, I don't know how they're going to do this, I'll probably get on board with a broken arm or leg or something'. I'm pretty lucky."
'Grey nomad' still sailing at 75
Lance Dennis, the master of the rescuing boat, said he was getting ready to have dinner when he heard Mr Sanders distress
"The initial reports was that he was only a kilometre off the cliffs, which would have been fatal as far as I was concerned, if he had of washed in," he said.
"But luckily when we got closer he was a bit further out."
Mr Sanders is best known for breaking world records in 1988 when he completed a triple circumnavigation
of the world alone.
Twenty-seven years later, at the age of 75, he is still sailing and has completed nine journeys around the world.
: The sinking yacht sailor Jon Sanders was rescued from off WA's Gascoyne coast. (Supplied: Lance Dennis)
for sailing round the world
three times solo is still unbroken.
Mr Sanders regularly sails
boats across the Australian bight for clients. He said he had not experienced any trouble at sea of this magnitude.
"I have had little bits of trouble like when engines fail, sails
blown out, but nothing like that," he said.
Despite his ordeal, Mr Sanders said he was not deterred from sailing but would take extra precautions next time.
"I think it's about time this grey nomad bought a car and a tent and went through the middle of Australia
, instead of around of Australia
," he said.