It has been confirmed that Chris BOWLING'S Hick 31 Redrock Communications, sank yesterday morning soon after hitting Black Rock near Coffs Harbour, forcing the crew to take to their liferaft.
The crew was picked up by a Coffs Harbour Water Police vessel at 4.30am and have since arrived safely in Coffs Harbour. Chris Bowling has reported the six crewmembers who were rescued from the liferaft are all OK, but very tired.
Black Rock stands three metres out of the water and when the boat hit, the rig became entangled in the rock and came crashing down while underneath, a hole had been punched through the hull and water was pouring in.
"We realised we were close and tried to turn away but it was too late,"
said Bowling this morning from Coffs Harbour. "It only took around 15 mins for the boat to sink,"
After a "text book life raft launch in pretty easy conditions"
the Redrock Communications crew waited in the dark for the closest yacht in the fleet, Mike Kelaher's Santana to arrive some 45 minutes later.
Santana stood by for 30 minutes until the crew were rescued by Water Police and were also required to tow the liferaft out to sea after it drifted dangerously close to South Solitary Island. Santana has rejoined the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race fleet racing north to Southport on the Queensland Gold Coast.
A total of nine yachts have now finished the 384 nautical mile race which began in Sydney Harbour at 1.00pm on Saturday afternoon, the latest Geoff Lavis' Inglis 50 UBS Wild Thing.
Following Grundig's line honours win, another eight yachts have finished overnight including Ludde Ingvall's Luna Park Sydney, Andrew Short Marine Djuice (Andrew Short), Broomstick (Cranitch/Wallace), Magnavox (Gray, Sorensen, Zemanek, Hodder), Indec (David Gotze) and Matt Allen's Ichi Ban.
Full results and positions are on the event website at the address below.