Workers rescue stricken yacht

DISASTER was narrowly averted at Coffs Harbour International Marina yesterday when a yacht floundering against the rocks was pulled to safety by quick thinking onlookers.

The two-man yacht was departing the marina at approximately 10am when rough seas washed it onto the breakwall at the entrance to the inner harbour.

The stranded yacht struggled to escape as its keel scrapped against the sea bed and the swell ran it aground.

Neil Dowes was walking by when he saw the yacht run into trouble.

“We were watching the seas tossing her around,” Mr Dowes said.

“Every time the waves came up the people watching would duck because the mast looked like it was going to hit the rocks.”

Two nearby boats came to the vessel's rescue but attempts to haul the yacht off the rocks were unsuccessful.

That was until Waterway Construction employees working nearby on the Jetty leapt into action.

Site supervisor Colin Ford said he and fellow workers Steve Dundas, Alan Thatcher and Chris McStravick saw the yacht run aground.

“We shot across in our boat to see if we could help,” Mr Ford said.

“We could see she was bouncing up and down with the swell and we threw a line and pulled the bow around.

“But she wasn't moving.”

The three impromptu rescue boats worked for 20 minutes until a line attached to the yacht's mast heeled it over to one side, eventually freeing the vessel.

When asked what prompted the everyday heroism, Mr Ford replied that it was nothing out of the ordinary.

“We help out where we can - on the water, everyone returns the favour.”

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