VOLUNTEERS from Marine Rescue Iluka Yamba have rescued two people on board a disabled 45-foot power catamaran in a seven-hour operation complicated by deteriorating conditions.
The catamaran skipper called the MR Iluka Yamba base just before 6.30am yesterday to report the fibreglass boat was stranded about six nautical miles north-east of Evans Head with motor and steering failure.
Marine Rescue NSW Northern Rivers regional controller Stephen Reading said the larger Iluka Yamba 30 Steber vessel was dispatched to tow the boat to shore rather than the closer Evans Head 30, due to the size of the catamaran.
IY 30, with Doug Luckie, Bruce Walsh, Tom Kelso and Peter Richards on board, reached the vessel about 9.30am and took it under tow, heading south towards Yamba in favourable conditions.
Mr Reading said the weather then deteriorated, with a strong southerly increasing the swell.
"The catamaran sustained damage to its bow and was taking on a lot of water in the choppy conditions. The skipper of IY 30 decided it would be safer and more effective to turn north again and travel with the weather and swell, which then stopped the water entering the catamaran," he said.
"The two vessels arrived in the Evans Head boat harbour about 1.30pm after a long and difficult operation. The members of the IY 30 crew are to be congratulated for their work to adapt to the worsening weather and sea conditions.
"The two people on board the catamaran were very grateful for our members' professional response to a situation that could have had a far more serious outcome."