The captain who came to the aid of a stricken yacht today said the two sailors on board were in serious trouble.
Two sailors, a 51-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man, both from Noumea in New Caledonia, were winched to safety after their yacht ran aground at Cape Raoul.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was dispatched and cruise ship Coral Discoverer immediately made its way to the area to assist.
Coral Discoverer captain Gary Wilson said the ship was passing the area when it was asked to assist.
“We saw the yacht in there on the rocks,” he said.
“Rescue authorities said they were sending a helicopter to assist but asked if we could get our tenders down as well.”
Mr Wilson said Tasmania Police co-ordinated the rescue liaising with the cruise ship and the rescue helicopter.
He said it was likely that high winds and rough seas had caused the yacht to run aground and the conditions complicated rescue efforts.
“They were in a lot of trouble,” he said.
The sailors made mayday calls via VHF radio about 4.30am and police were also contacted by the AMSA Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Canberra after an emergency beacon was activated at the western side of Cape Raoul, south of Port Arthur.
The cruise ship moved to more sheltered water on the eastern side of Cape Raoul and launched tender vessels to provide help and a rescue by water if required.
“We’ve got our big tender, The Explorer, on the stern so we put that down plus one of our Zodiacs, not knowing how we were going to get these people off if we had to do it by boat,” Mr Wilson said.
The pair made their way to shore from their stranded 40-foot yacht, Claire De Lune.
About 7am they were winched to safety by the rescue helicopter from rocks just south of Shipstern Bluff. Both were uninjured.
Sergeant John Pratt said the rescue underlined the need to be prepared on the water.
“The incident highlights the benefit of carrying a registered EPIRB, having a working marine VHF radio and carrying all mandatory safety equipment when conducting boating activities,” he said.
The yacht is still stranded on the rocks at Cape Raoul with a decision yet to be made on possible salvage.