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Ghoast ship travels 30 kms by self


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Ship goes 30km with no crew


By Ben Sharkey


August 05, 2004


IT IS a story straight out of the Bermuda Triangle. A ghost ship with no sails or crew makes a near 30km journey through treacherous river waters and into the open ocean as if guided by unseen hands.


The unnamed 8.5m North 28 timber yacht was last seen when its Padstow owner tied it to moorings at Parsley Bay near Brooklyn on the NSW Central Coast two months ago but on Tuesday it was found almost 30km away off Terrigal without a soul on board.


No one is sure when the yacht managed to break free of its moorings and set sail, although it was probably on Monday night.


It was spotted by a sick man watching the sea through his telescope at his home at Killcare around 8.45am on Tuesday before the owner even knew it was missing.


Senior Sergeant Glenn Rubenach said police received several calls about the wayward yacht and if not for the ensuing police air search and the goodwill of a Queensland fisherman who towed it to the Broken Bay police station at Church Point it would have made it all the way to New Zealand.


"It's really only good luck that it made it as far as it did," he said.


"A lot of boats have sunk around that area and they had the benefit of actually having crews on board.


"It's definitely one of the strangest things I have ever heard about.


"It has managed to go from Parsley Bay, past the shallow waters of Dead Horse Bay, the shallows off Little Wobby, past Juno Point, through Flint and Steel Point and then around Lion Island, miss the reefs and breaking waves at West Reef and East Reef and on to Terrigal.


"By all rights it really should have sunk or at least run aground. If it did not get spotted when it did, the yacht would have been over the horizon for sure and by the time anyone realised it was gone it would have been in the middle of the ocean."


While the yacht's elderly owner decided not to talk to The Daily Telegraph on the grounds that his fellow sailors would give him too much of a hard time about the story, police said his vessel was spirited away by the changing wind.


Senior Constable Mick Crews of Broken Bay water police said with winds of around 30 knots on Tuesday it was no surprise the yacht made it as far as it did.


"Really it was just the wind and the ghosts that took it. Since Sunday we have had pretty much northerly winds but last night [Monday] the winds changed to a westerly and that was probably enough to break it from its mooring," he said.


"All the hatches and padlocks are secure so I would say no one tried to break in or anything.


"A change of wind can be all it takes to break a boat from its mooring, that's why owners have to keep a close eye on them."


Sen-Constable Crews said since the yacht did not have a name the owner should at least consider calling it "the Ghost Ship" after its remarkable journey.


"The owner has been informed that the yacht was towed to Church Point by a Queensland fisherman and I guess he might pay him for his trouble.


"That would be the right thing to do but it's up to him."


He said while the search for the $28,000 yacht involved the fixed-wing aircraft Polair 2 it was not an expensive mission because the NSW Police aircraft was already flying in the area and only had to make a minor detour.



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