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26 September 2011

Troubled yacht off Kwazulu Natal found

Johannesburg - The 42-foot catamaran which reported it was in trouble off the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast on Monday afternoon, has been found, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

"It appears that they had to re-boot their GPS to provide an accurate reading," said spokesperson Craig Lambinon.

By that time both NSRI rescue boats [from Shelly Beach and Port Edward] had returned to base to refuel.

"Based on the reports from the yacht crew, that they were no longer suffering from sea-sickness and that they had hydrated to alleviate the effects of dehydration, and with NSRI Durban's deep-sea rescue craft only an hour-and-a-half away from reaching them, the two sea rescue craft have not been dispatched to return to sea and instead now remain on stand-by."

Lambinon said the new GPS co-ordinates given showed that the Tholile was actually further south than was reported earlier on Monday.

"Once NSRI Durban's sea rescue craft have the yacht under tow we will evaluate an estimated arrival time in the Port of Durban based on the speed they make under tow."

Three members of the crew were severely dehydrated after prolonged seasickness. The crew, all from Durban, comprised five men and one woman.

Rescuers believed the yacht had drifted far south as a result of a 25-knot south-easterly wind and was caught in the south-flowing Agulhas current.

She was drifting in a four-metre swell and had sprung a leak which the crew had stemmed.

- SAPA