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Otago Regional Council harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook said the Aorere broke its moorings sometime on Sunday night and Moeraki residents woke on Monday to find it grounded.
"By the time I was aware, the local fishermen were already on the case and pulling it off the beach and affecting a rescue, which they did very well and very effectively."
The vessel was privately owned and was normally moored in the steamer basin, in Dunedin, he said.
"The owner is local to here. I don’t know why he was up there.
"He’s quite an experienced sailor and boat owner."
Mr Rushbrook was pleased no-one was hurt and the incident did not cause any environmental damage.
"From my point of view, accidents like this happen. I’m glad it’s safely recovered off the beach and it’s safely made its way to somewhere where it’s not going to be a problem to navigation anywhere else.
"There were no reported leaks of fuel or oil at all throughout the whole process. That was something we were monitoring quite closely."
The 14-metre vessel had since travelled to Dunedin under its own power, and was now being repaired at Carey’s Bay marina, he said.