Melbourne-Osaka updatewww.sail-world.com overnight, Mad Max owner skipper James Murchison and crew Jeff Thomas were sailing north towards Bougainville aboard their 12-metre ocean racer when they struck fringing coral reefs off Rossell Island on the south eastern tip of Papua New Guinea. They hit the reef at 2:45 am Monday morning. Hitting the reef on a rising tide the vessel was holed and started taking water.
Mad Max activated their Emergency Beacon (EPIRB) and AuSAR in Canberra managed to reach the crew by HF radio within a short time, after Taupo Radio in New Zealand heard their Distress transmissions.
At 3:15am this morning, the 11,600 tonne Japanese icebreaker Shirase, returning from an Antarctic research mission, advised they were 150 miles south of the stricken vessel and were steaming at high speed to render assistance.
Earlier this morning, AuSAR (Australian Search And Rescue) spokesman Brian Willey advised that the Japanese vessel had reached the vicinity but were unable to affect a rescue due to difficult sea conditions and failing light.
Shirase stood by the stricken vessel, hoping to be able to rescue the sailors at first light, with a rigid inflatable boat, as both sailors were uninjured and in no immediate danger.
James and Jeff were lifted by helicopter from Mad Max at 8:00am this morning and are now on board the Shirase heading for Rabaul with an ETA of midday tomorrow. Their boat has been abandoned.
No Fearr has Retired
Unfortunately, after battling through spilt diesel tanks and electronic failure which forced them to stop at Eden and again at Coffs Harbour, Philip Coombs and Peter Walsh aboard Boat No 3, No Fearr advised their yacht representative at 6:00am this morning that they had broken their boom and were motoring to Brisbane.
Both Philip and Peter are well and safe, but unfortunately No Fearr has retired from the race.
Having broken and repaired their steering cable a couple of days ago, No Fearr has finally run out of puff and given up - but not before Philip and Peter had given it everything they had.
In other news, Maverick II is currently leading the race for line honours from Kontrol and Club Marine Wizard.