Posted by Someone on April 14, 2012

Saved Yachtie:Preparation Secret To Survival

Bear Grylls drops his trousers on telly - and it's not a quite sight: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TELEVISION

A Northland yachtie winched to safety, after deserting his sinking vessel and drifting in a rowboat for two hours 180km off Northland's coast, reckons preparation was the essential to his survival.

Steve White, 48, of South Head on the Kaipara Harbour, circumnavigating New Zealand solo, understood he remained in difficulty when he heard a loud bang on the fiberglass hull of his 50ft yacht about 5.30 pm on Saturday. It was dark and he was 180km off coast from Kaitaia. His final destination was Whangarei marina on Wednesday.

The other day, he stated the high-sea drama saying he never ever feared for his life as he was well prepared to survive at least a week on a life raft.

As an experienced yachtie with a lifetime around the sea, who has actually sailed round New Zealand once before and to the Chatham Islands twice, said being prepared conserved him.

"Preparation is everything, think ahead about the potential danger. Absolutely have a GPS device that emergency services can locate so they do not have to search a huge location.

"It can suggest the difference between being found or not.".

Striking the unknown object in the darkness jolted him awake.

"There was a bang and a shudder. I got up on deck and could not see anything," said the self-confessed searching, fishing diving man.

Instantly he returned below deck to discover water coming through a hole. He began packing pillows into space however soon understood he was "fighting a losing battle".

"The water was starting to come over the floor boards and I understood I needed to get off.".

He triggered his emergency locator beacon and prepared to desert ship. Pulling down the sails stopped the yacht and he packed the life-raft into a rowboat and gathered his "get hold of bags" packed filled with emergency situation gear and food.

With those stowed away on the rowboat he had a long time to get hold of some personal items, prior to his boat called Maeva filled with water and sunk.

Mr. White had a secondary emergency device he also activated. The inReach two-way, satellite communication device allowed him to send out and get messages to mobile numbers.

He texts his spouse of eight years telling her he was not in instant danger, the weather was great and to let emergency situation services this wasn't a false activation.

Mr. White inflated the life raft, attached it to his drab and tied the kayak on to make himself as noticeable as possible to rescuers.

As soon as the signal was received by the Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington they requested the assistance of the Northland Electricity rescue helicopter.

Pilot Dean Voelkerling said the team flew to Kaitaia, refueling before heading to the yachtie.

"We got his emergency locator beacon 15 minutes away from where he was. His aquatic 16 radio was water-logged so we could not quite hear exactly what he was saying.

"A St John paramedic winched him off and we flew back to Whangarei.".

Mr. White had nothing but appreciation for his rescuers saying they were efficient and expert.

Rescue Coordination Centre spokesman John Ashby said Mr. White did everything.

"He did all the right things, had all the best equipment, and did everything he might to help save himself when his solo journey circumnavigating New Zealand counted on prospective disaster.".