RESCUED: Maxine Cowie and Xanthe Smith towed in by Marine Rescue.
RESCUED: Maxine Cowie and Xanthe Smith towed in by Marine Rescue. Kyle Hands Media

Rocky finish for cancer survivor's incredible voyage

SHE'S conquered ovarian cancer and a brain tumour, now Maxine Cowie has triumphed in a 2,000km rocky voyage, despite being faced with two cyclones and a broken motor.

Taking the definition of survival to a whole new level, Maxine and her crew member, 17-year-old Xanthe Smith, were towed into Coffs Harbour in their 22ft yacht by Marine Rescue Sunday afternoon after having set sail from Cooktown in December.

The 59-year-old Coffs woman decided to embark on the journey as a project to get herself "back into life", following surgery to remove a brain tumour in 2016 and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer just six months later.

After stopping for a night at Byron Bay, the duo headed off towards Coffs Harbour last Thursday but an hour later, when southerly winds began blowing, Maxine found the one-week-old motor had stopped working.

 

Maxine Cowie and Xanthe Smith towed in by Marine Rescue.
Maxine Cowie and Xanthe Smith towed in by Marine Rescue. Kyle Hands Media

The pair decided to head to Yamba to get the motor fixed but were unable to be towed in across the bar because of large swells.

"We sailed around waiting to see if the ocean would calm down but were told...they would not be able to get us safely across the bar under the threatening conditions," Maxine wrote in a Facebook update.

"After a phone call to Xanthe's parents we decided to sail over night to Coffs. That entailed a half hour on watch, half hour pretending to sleep in the ditch with tarp over us when a drenching squall came across several times during the night."

 

Maxine Cowie and Xanthe Smith.
Maxine Cowie and Xanthe Smith. Kyle Hands Media

The pair were 14 nautical miles north of Coffs Harbour when winds changed to a strong south easterly, resulting in a dramatic ending to the voyage for the sailors.

Sleep deprived and exhausted, they were saved by Marine Rescue crews just five nautical miles Coffs Harbour.

 

Maxine Cowie.
Maxine Cowie. Kyle Hands Media


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