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Crew of Amaltal Apollo recognised for joint rescue of a solo yachtie


May 22, 2024


22 May 2024

Crew of Amaltal Apollo recognised for joint rescue of a solo yachtie

This week, the crew of the Amaltal Apollo, won a certificate of achievement at the 2023 NZSAR awards for the joint rescue of a solo yachtie in extreme conditions 50 nautical miles from Cape Kidnappers between 29-30 March last year.

The Moana Chief and No.40 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force, who also assisted in the rescue, were also awarded the NZSAR certificate of achievement.

The sailor had spent the night stuck on his yacht, which had lost its mast after it rolled in heavy weather. Overnight things become worse as the engine failed, so the sailor then requested assistance.

The Amaltal Apollo crew, assisted by the Moana Chief and a New Zealand Defence Force C-130 Hercules, were able to transfer the sailor onto the Amaltal Apollo, where the crew looked after him while they planned how to transfer him onto land.

The Amaltal Apollo is a Talley’s vessel. Talley’s Fishing General Manager Leon Moore said Amaltal Apollo crew are trained for sea rescue, so were able to use their expertise to bring the yachtie on board and give him medical treatment before diverting to the closest port.

“It was a difficult rescue a long distance offshore in 7-metre swells, so it was a great effort by all those involved. Everyone responded quickly and professionally and there was a good outcome. We are very proud of our crew, and everyone else involved.”

More detail about the rescue

Around 5pm on 29 March 2023, a solo sailor on board the 10-metre yacht Astra was swept overboard when the yacht rolled. The sailor managed to swim back to the yacht and activate his distress beacon.

The sea conditions in the area were severe, with 60-knot southerly winds and 7-metre swells. A helicopter rescue was impossible in those weather conditions, so the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand began looking for nearby vessels of opportunity to assist.

Two vessels, the 42-metre Amaltal Apollo and 175-metre Moana Chief, arrived on scene the following morning, but poor visibility meant they lost sight of the yacht.

A C-130 Hercules aircraft from No. 40 Squadron arrived on scene around 9am and the aircrew were able to re-locate the yacht.

The much-larger Moana Chief positioned upwind of the yacht to provide some shelter during the rescue effort, while the C-130 Hercules aircrew provided oversight and communications.

The crew of Amaltal Apollo used a line thrower rocket to send a line over the yacht. The sailor entered the water and used the line to drag himself into a life ring which had been attached to the line. The crew of Amaltal Apollo hauled the sailor to the side of their vessel.

Waiting for the right moment in the large swells, they were able to pluck him from the ocean to safety.

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