Yachts collide on Hauraki Gulf

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 09:01 31/01/2012

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The skipper of a yacht involved in a collision on Auckland's waterfront yesterday says he didn't see the other vessel and is "mortified" about the incident.

The two yachts collided near Princes Wharf yesterday just after midday, leaving one woman seriously injured and a yacht on the sea floor after it sank.

Thousands of boats were on the water yesterday, celebrating Auckland Anniversary Day. Some were taking part in the Anniversary Day regatta.

Charles St Clair Brown was skippering the 60ft sail boat Antaeus when he says another, smaller yacht crossed his bow from his left.

He had not seen it as he motored towards the marina when he heard whistling from another vessel behind him and to his left.

It was as he turned that the collision occurred, with his yacht striking the starboard side of the older vessel which was travelling under sail.

The injured woman was sitting in the cockpit, just behind the point of impact. She ended up in the water as the boat began sinking quickly, while the man on board managed to jump off to avoid the impact.

St Clair Brown said he jumped in to help the injured woman.

"I dived in and rescued the woman who was floating in the water. She was sitting in the boat when it was sinking."

By that time she had been joined by her partner and was complaining of a sore back and hip.

The man on the other vessel told St Clair Brown he had seen Antaeus two or three seconds before they collided, giving him enough time to abandon ship.

St Clair Brown said he could not figure out how he had not seen the other yacht, saying he was steering his own vessel and staring straight ahead until just before impact and had been taking extra care due to the number of boats on the water.

"Really I just struggle to see how I could not have seen it because I was steering the boat and looking forward just before the impact.

"I just literally didn't see them.

"I feel very, very sorry for the people that were in the other yacht. It's tragic. I was mortified by it and I did everything I could to assist them."

His yacht suffered only minor scratches to the bow and no one on board was injured.

St Clair Brown said he had filed a report with Maritime New Zealand and had spoken with the Harbour Master.

A Northern Region coastguard spokesperson said a distress call was received just after midday. Coastguard volunteers on board the ASB Rescue transported the woman in serious condition to a waiting ambulance.

A St John ambulance spokesman said she was taken to Auckland City Hospital.

An Auckland City Hospital spokesman said the woman remained in hospital in a stable condition.

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- The Dominion Post

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