Police divers search Lake Wanaka yesterday evening for the body of Trevor Hawke. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The Wanaka man presumed
drowned after falling overboard while sailing on Lake Wanaka
on Thursday had more than 40 years' yachting experience and
had been recognised nationally for his yachting
Trevor Lloyd Hawke (70), a founding member of the Wanaka
Yacht Club, had been sailing with a friend shortly after 6pm
on Thursday when the yacht he was in lurched unexpectedly and
Mr Hawke fell into the water. His sailing partner rounded the
yacht several times to try to pick Mr Hawke up but he could
not make it back on to the vessel and disappeared.
Coastguard Wanaka Lakes, Wanaka Yacht Club, police and
LandSAR members, along with a search helicopter, combed the
waters and eastern shoreline of Roys Bay until nightfall.
Coastguard Wanaka Lakes president and marine adviser Jim
Talboys said the water was very cold - 12.6degC on Thursday
and down to 10.5degC yesterday morning.
The search continued from 7.30am to 10.30am yesterday, with
about eight people in three boats using sonar equipment on
the water, while Mr Hawke's friends and family searched the
Police divers from Wellington took over the search at about
5pm in an "area of probability" identified by Mr Hawke's
sailing partner, about 200m off Eely Point where the accident
occurred. They were stood down about 8pm because of limited
visibility. The search is to resume this morning.
Mr Hawke was recently made a life member of the Wanaka Yacht
Club and in 2009 he was acknowledged in the Yachting New
Zealand honour awards for his more than 40 years' involvement
at the club, including as commodore from 1976-79.
Club commodore Geoff Dickey said losing Mr Hawke was a huge
blow to the sailing fraternity.
"He was a great instructor, of all ages. Anybody who wanted
to learn ... you didn't have to have a special session. If
you wanted to go for a spin on Trev's yacht he was more than
happy to take you," Mr Dickey said.
Mr Hawke was known as the club's "fix it man". Whenever
anything needed doing, such as boat maintenance or course
realignment, "the first name you'd think of was Trev...
that's the sort of man he was; he never said no". He was an
extremely accomplished and competitive sailor and had a great
passion for the sport.
Mr Talboys praised the actions and "excellent seamanship" of
Mr Hawke's sailing companion, in his repeated attempts to
manoeuvre the yacht to rescue Mr Hawke.
"He did a fantastic job... I give him accolades. He did
everything possible. And to go out there [yesterday] and
identify where he lost his friend was a huge thing."
The name of the companion, who had more than 20 years sailing
experience, has not been released.
A debriefing session for club members last night, held at the
Wanaka Yacht Club, attracted a full house.
"A lot of members have a lot of questions and they want to
know what happened. We just want them to get the correct
story," Mr Dickey said.
"In the fullness of time it will all come out and . . . there
will be lessons to be learned, and rest assured the club will
be making sure we take those on board."
The session was also "a time to reflect on Trev".