Sailors extra life savers

Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014
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David Abercrombie

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Building the National Ocean Water Sports Centre at Takapuna Beach may help save lives, Yachting NZ chief executive David Abercrombie says.

His comments follow the rescue of three Auckland fishermen by members of the NZL sailing team on January 8.

Olympic multihull Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders were around 3km from the Takapuna shoreline on a routine training session when they came across a man treading water.

The man's small fishing dinghy had sunk around two hours earlier.

"We pulled him on board and found he had two other fishing companions who had separated from him."

It was then that two NZL sailing team coaches - Mark Howard and Dave Robertson - who were also on the water independently from the sailors, became involved.

They came to investigate what appeared to be some unusual sailing from Ms Jones and Mr Saunders and happened across a second member of the party in distress. They found the third person soon after and took them on board their inflatable coach boat.

"We transferred the person we had picked up on to Mark's boat and he took the three back to Takapuna boat ramp to an awaiting ambulance," Ms Jones says.

The NZL Sailing Team is the country's top Olympic campaigner and members spend a lot of time on the water, training regularly on the waters of the Hauraki Gulf.

"This is the area in which the proposed National Ocean Water Sports Centre is to be located and demonstrates an added benefit to the public of having highly capable sailors and coaches regularly out on the water keeping a wary eye out for the public's safety," Mr Abercrombie says.

"I'm sure the presence and actions of the NZL Sailing Team members along with the use of lifejackets helped save the lives of these very lucky boaties," he says.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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