Two sailors tragically die while racing maxi yacht off New South Wales coast

According to Australian news reports, two experienced sailors were killed and 16 crew members had to be rescued yesterday after a maxi yacht ran aground off the NSW coast.

Shockwave skipper Andrew Short and its navigator Sally Gordon died when the boom swept them from the deck into the ocean after the vessel hit rocks off Port Kembla. The 80-foot yacht was taking part in a 92-mile lead-up race to the Sydney Hobart classic when it struck rocks during rough conditions at Flinders Islet at about 03:00.

After the yacht’s four-metre keel hit the rocks, the boom smashed into Short, 48, and Ms Gordon, 47, and a third crewmember. The trio was knocked overboard.

The yacht began sinking quickly, taking water through its fractured hull, forcing the remaining 15 on board, including a 14-year-old boy, to abandon it. The crew scrambled onto the rocky island – the man knocked off the deck by the boom remained in the water.

Other yachts in the race rushed to help those in the water. Australian yachtsman Syd Fischer, 82, skipper of Ragamuffin, said his crew saw a yellow object in the water which turned out to be Ms Gordon: “It was really dark. We saw that it was a person. We tried to [revive her].”

His crew gave CPR to Ms Gordon for the short journey to Port Kembla harbour where they handed her over to paramedics. The crew of yacht Quest, fought to save Mr Short. He could not be revived.

To read the full report from the Sydney Morning Herald, click here.