Yachtsman rescued at Eden sails into trouble again off Bermagui

The Bermagui Marine Rescue unit on Sunday morning rescued a stricken yacht after its sail malfunctioned and became wrapped in its propellor.

The 81-year-old yachtsman Peter Steele was previously rescued off Eden by Eden Water Police on May 21 after swells measuring between 8m to 10m caused his 33-foot yacht to veer 100 miles off course.

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Marine Rescue NSW region operations manager Monaro, Glenn Sullivan said this latest rescue took place when Mr Steele’s mainsail became wrapped in his prop and he became late on the schedule.

The yachtsman called for assistance just before 3am Sunday and Bermagui Marine Rescue vessel Bermagui 30  located the yacht abòut 20 nautical miles east southeast off Bermagui using radio direction finding equipment. 

Bermagui 30 towed the yacht to Bermagui Harbour with unit commander Alec Percival at the helm with crew members Steve Angelo, Ray McLeod and Olivia Ford on board.

Marine Rescue Sydney assisted in the rescue using the new radio relay tower on Mt Imlay.

Mr Steele caught the attention of the local Marine Rescue units the day before on Saturday when he was late on his schedule prompting the Marine Rescue Narooma unit, which was out on training on its vessel Narooma 30, to search for his yacht.

He was located by the Narooma vessel off Bermagui at around 11am but at that time he told the Narooma Marine Rescue crew that he was fine and able to continue on.

Mr Sullivan said the yachtsman had given assurances to Marine Rescue NSW that he would undertake shorter day trips on his way up to Sydney and only sail during the day.

These rescues also showed the importance of logging on with Marine Rescue on VHF 16, as the units were able to track him up the coast using his trip schedule, he said.

Mr Steele, 81, meanwhile aims to become the oldest person to sail around the world solo and unassisted. Three years ago the veteran yachtsman purchased a 411-acre property near Kyogle, NSW, as part of his vision to protect koalas through his work with World Wildlife Sanctuaries (WWS).

The Gold Coast resident is hoping to depart between October and December this year after recently purchasing his new yacht in Melbourne.