The X-Yachts XP-50 a German national is limping into Mackay on, after losing his rudder during the Around the World Ocean Yacht Race.
The X-Yachts XP-50 a German national is limping into Mackay on, after losing his rudder during the Around the World Ocean Yacht Race. Contributed

VMR rescues German yacht stuck in passage

MACKAY Volunteer Marine Rescue are currently on the water rescuing a 50ft yacht belonging to a German national taking part an in around the world yacht race.

VMR secretary Graham Creagh said that it's a pretty unusual rescue for their squadron, heading more than 100 nautical miles (185km) out to White Tip sub reef near Hydrographers Passage to tow the Lunatix back in.

The yacht was more than 500 nautical miles off Mackay when Mackay VMR first got the call out for rescue, due to a lost rudder, on Monday.

"We had to wait until it limped in close enough so we could offer assistance for our range and our boat," Mr Creagh said.

"They're hoping to be out and in position by about 3pm (yesterday) afternoon, hopefully get him back about noon (today)."

The Lunatix is owned by a German national, Friederich Boehnert who has competed in a slew of international nautical events including his current endeavour, the World ARC Round the World Rally. The yacht is an X-Yachts XP-50, which, when purchased new start from around $900,000.

"We normally go out just to rescue or retrieve some of the local guys that have broken down - we probably go 140km out, that's probably getting towards the extreme," Mr Creagh said.

"We have in the past rescued people off cruise liners that have been passing up the east coast and the coal boats where the helicopters haven't been able to get them for medical extractions."

Mr Creagh noted that rescuing a yacht from such a prestigious race, and such a distance, was quite uncommon.

"This one is pretty unusual for us really - to go out and get an Around the World Ocean Yacht Race boat ... it comes from international waters and Border Force are now involved," Mr Creagh said.

He said the local VMR team will have to pass customs and quarantines when they get back as well, indicating the magnitude of the rescue.

Mr Creagh said the yacht is limping in from the deep water passage, Hydrographers Passage a track through the Great Barrier Reef that links Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay ports, as well as Mackay with the Coral Sea.

He said he expects the boat is still under sail and is using side thrusters to help keep it on track, making slow progress of around 5.5 knots an hour.

"It would be a slow process compared to what they're used to," Mr Creagh said.

Other race contenders have helped the Lunatix out with some diesel to keep him kicking along.

"A couple of boats were going to shadow him to make sure he didn't run into any obstacles on the way, with rough weather he'd just be floundering in the sea," Mr Creagh said.

"If we had rough seas we wouldn't be able to get out to him - we've had great weather at the moment."