Aucklander Tania Davies and Australia-based Briton Steve
Jones. Supplied photo.
A New Zealand woman and her partner who were rescued from
their damaged yacht in a Pacific storm say they are grateful to
be alive after a long ordeal.
Auckland woman Tania Davies, 43, and her British partner
Steve Jones, 52, were rescued from their damaged yacht
Windigo adrift in the Pacific Ocean by a cargo ship
Speaking from aboard the rescue ship Chengtu, a
tearful Ms Davies was thankful to their rescuers, saying the
couple were unsure they would have lasted another night
Heading from Tonga to Auckland on a home-coming voyage, they
had perfect conditions for the first three days and were
"sailing like a dream", said Ms Davies.
Then, halfway between Tonga and Fiji, they struck bad
The yacht started struggling, continually "being slammed
down'' by the force of the winds and waves, prompting the
pair to send out mayday calls then activate an emergency
"We were like a couple of little balls being tossed around a
"The banging, the crashing, the whipping, the crunching, the
sloshing. Just the sounds vibrate through every part of your
They barricaded themselves in and spent a hellish three days
being thrown around inside their increasingly damaged yacht,
which suffered broken steering, engine, hatches and extensive
"We couldn't fall to pieces because if we fell to pieces that
was it. We needed the energy.''
After receiving the distress message Chengtu diverted
its course to Los Angeles and travelled for 15 hours to reach
the damaged yacht, said ship master Norman McNee.
When they neared the troubled yacht, they were hit by gale
force winds and seas swells of 8-9 metres.
"It was pretty bad. From the point of view of a small yacht
it would be pretty towering seas,'' he said.
The darkness and bad weather conditions meant they were
forced to wait until sunrise to launch a rescue.
The cargo ship maneuvered until it was parallel to the
damaged yacht to provide some protection from the weather and
the two crew were brought to safety using a sling.
They both suffered mild to moderate head injuries and Mr
Jones has also suffered a back injury.
The Chengtu was heading south and this afternoon was
expected to meet NZ naval vessel HMNZS Otago, to which
the couple would be transferred.