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Lone Swiss sailor Bernt Luchtenborg is confident the beloved yacht he was forced to abandon in the southern ocean will be salvaged and he will continue on his global expedition, unfazed by this week's drama.
The 56-year-old was attempting a double circumnavigation of the globe in his yacht Horizons when he crashed into what he believes was a sleeping whale 800km south of Stewart Island on Tuesday.
"It was like hitting a wall. I went from 8 knots to zero," Mr Luchtenborg told the Southland Times.
The yacht's rudder was damaged and it drifted directionless in 8m swells for two days before Mr Luchtenbourg reluctantly decided to abandon it.
He said he had been in constant communication with Maritime NZ, had plenty of provisions on board, and had planned to improvise a rudder using a cabin door and a line of rope, but was given the hard word by his insurance company and his wife.
"I felt it was not a dangerous situation for me. But my insurance company told me this was my last chance to be picked up by a boat. And then my wife said `please, do it for me'."
The luxury cruise liner Seven Seas Mariner was diverted to pick up Mr Luchtenborg in a rescue operation described by Captain Stan de Lacombe as "dangerous".
Lowering of the rescue boat and crew and recovering them safely involved risky manoeuvres in the rough seas but were safely completed in 13 minutes, to the delight of the 660 passengers and 440 crew on board, he said.
Mr Luchtenborg is now organising the salvage of Horizons, which remains afloat, anchored about 200km out to sea. The sailor arrives in Bluff today to await her arrival.
He then intends to continue his voyage, heading for Cape Horn next, unfazed by his unscheduled stop.
"This is my pleasure, I love it," he said.