Canadian Sailor Gets Lucky Off Australian Coast


For an allegedly experienced sailor, his lack of preparedness is quite shocking. This guy really lucked out.

A lone Canadian yachtsman says he’s lucky a long out-of-date battery still powered his emergency beacon when he struck trouble in wild weather in the Southern Ocean. Paul Lim, 62, was picked up by a Panama-registered bulk carrier late on Monday after his yacht’s engine broke free of its mounting and threatened to hole the 31-f00t vessel.

Australian rescue authorities had a plane overhead within hours of him setting off his beacon. A radio and extra life raft were dropped to him before the carrier, the Kohju, arrived 140 nautical miles south-west of Cape Leeuwin off the WA coast to rescue him.

Mr. Lim told ABC Radio from the Kohju that he was totally surprised at the fast rescue response once he activated his EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon).

”I thought when I switched it on, maybe in a couple of days I might get a response if I’m lucky.”

“A friend had given me this EPIRB in Chile and the expiry date on the battery was actually 2002, so there was no guarantee it was going to work,” Mr Lim said. ”It was kind of a desperate effort trying to avoid a catastrophe.”

Mr. Lim said his yacht Kekuli was in waves up to eight metres with winds of 25 to 30 knots and he had to make a call about the risk of the loose engine going through the hull.

He said he decided it wasn’t worth the risk of trying to get to Fremantle or Albany ”because one roll … and I would have drowned”.

Mr. Lim said he spoke by radio to the crews of two Australian planes that flew overhead.

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Author: Blue Water Sailing