Brothers saved by racing yacht crew


Job well done: The crew of the yacht Phoenix are Craig Poynder, Peter Green, Bill Bennett and Scott Robertson. Picture: Yanni

TWO brothers out fishing in a “tinnie” two kilometres off Mornington are lucky to be alive after being rescued by the crew of the racing yacht Phoenix, Saturday 3 March.

The Mornington men, in their 20s, were in the water for about 30 minutes after capsizing in the afternoon’s windy weather and feared they would drown.

Luckily, a crewman on the Mornington yacht, skippered by Bill Bennet, saw them waving and the boat hurriedly changed course to pick them up. Spotting the men in the rough conditions was made even more difficult by the glare from the late-afternoon sun.

Mornington Yacht Club CEO Wayne Holdsworth said Mr Bennett and crewmen Peter Green, Scott Robinson, Craig Poynder and David Heyes, acted instinctively in the rescue. He said their actions almost certainly saved the men’s lives.

“One of the brothers admitted afterwards that if they had been in the water for five minutes longer he was going to give up,” he said.

An ambulance took the men to Frankston Hospital for observation after they landed.

Mr Holdworth said the reaction of the crew was “priceless”.

He had been told that “you instinctively go and help out [if you see someone in trouble] and it was our privilege to be there at the right time”.

“It meant two lives were saved,” Mr Holdworth said.

One of the rescued men returned to the club the next day to say thanks – a move praised by the yacht club’s CEO. “The young men are extremely lucky to be with us today and, if not for the crew of the Phoenix, they would probably have been casualties.”

Kayakers rescued

Further south and three days later, three kayakers were picked up by Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad crews on Tuesday 6 March with one man reportedly in real danger as he drifted towards The Heads.

It is believed two women and a man hired the kayaks for an afternoon in the water off Portsea and were told “not to go past the end of the pier”. However, strong winds, coupled with their inexperience, resulted in them being pushed past the Quarantine Station about 2pm.

A commercial fisherman saw the crew of the double kayak in trouble and raised the alarm. One was reportedly struggling in the water.

Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad members then took over the rescue. “We rang our skipper and the single kayaker was found 15 minutes later with the help of the fishing boat,” squad president Eileen Murray said.

“He was being buffeted by strong winds and outgoing current and on his way to The Heads, so the rescue was a good outcome.”

First published in the Mornington News – 13 March 2018


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