Happy to see land again . . . Robyn, John and Zack Matthews safe and sound in Coffs Harbour.
Happy to see land again . . . Robyn, John and Zack Matthews safe and sound in Coffs Harbour.

Longing for a sailing trip to New Zealand?

By CRAIG McTEAR

WANTED: Two experienced crew with a sense of adventure to join a weary family on their trip home across the Tasman.

The Matthews family, that is, from New Zealand ? Robyn, 36, husband John, 58, and son, Zack, 6 ? who have just endured a nightmare voyage from Brisbane to Coffs Harbour in their yacht, Luna C.

Their countryman and crewman, Hugh Hutcheson, 55, suffered a broken rib after he fell on the deck in mountainous seas.

He was whisked to hospital after the sloop arrived in Coffs Harbour on Tuesday afternoon.

He flies home today and the search is on for hired help so the Matthews can be on their way once sea conditions are favourable.

Robyn and John will have their second child in November and the plan is to take the yacht home for modifications before setting off again in April or May for Tonga and Fiji.

The Matthews bought Luna C three weeks ago in Brisbane and set off in perfect weather at lunchtime on Saturday for Coffs Harbour on the first leg of their journey home.

"We expected some favourable conditions, but it didn't happen," Robyn said.

Hugh slipped over on Sunday and had to lay low for the rest of the journey, although he helped where he could.

On Monday, John had to repair the engines when they cut out and the family decided to cancel a request for help they'd issued earlier off the Evans Head coast.

But a rough chop and a 20- to 30-knot headwind meant they were going nowhere fast. It led to another cry for help north-east of Iluka on Tuesday morning.

They were told to take shelter at North Solitary Island but Robyn said it was so rough they couldn't get close enough, so they decided to keep going and head for Coffs.

"The biggest thrill was coming through the harbour here," John said.

Before they head to New Zealand, they'll do a few touch-up jobs on Luna C and soak up some of the local hospitality.



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