Thursday, February 1, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

WASHED UP! Boat Washes Up On Cannonvale Beach Following Cyclone Kirrily

A victim of strong winds, massive swells, and king tides, 25ft sailing yacht ‘Second Wind’ was set adrift in the Whitsundays on Thursday night when Cyclone Kirrily made landfall in the vicinity of Townsville.

The much-loved recreational cruising vessel which is owned by a local couple, Julien Gallaud and Eloise Tyler, was anchored in Whisper Bay when its anchor chain broke in the middle of the storm.

The stricken vessel was being battered by waves when the rescue operation took place. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

Washed Up, Hauled Out And Given A “Second Wind”

With Cyclone Kirrily looming over the Queensland coast last Thursday evening, the owners of ‘Second Wind’ prepared their vessel for the storm, anchoring her securely near the Whisper Bay Boat Ramp in Cannonvale.

As the weather worsened the couple returned home to take shelter and were able to watch their vessel from the veranda, using a pair of binoculars to get a closer view.

Soon after, they watched in astonishment as the anchor light disappeared from view and, at this point, they knew the vessel was in trouble.

“We prepared the boat so well, but then the wind changed, and we hoped the anchor would hold, but with the massive swell and king tides, the chain just kept rubbing and rubbing and eventually just gave way,” said Ms Tyler.

“It was horrible, my partner loves that boat so much and we were freaking out!”

“We were very concerned it would do some damage and we were really lucky it didn’t go into the rocks or the mangroves.”

Despite the misfortune of the event, the couple say they were extremely fortunate the vessel washed up on the coarse sands of Cannonvale Beach.

“It was the best thing for it, we were so lucky in many ways!”

Heading down to the beach that same evening, the pair saw the lower tide and knew it meant the boat wouldn’t move until the morning, so they went home.

Returning at 6am, they made a few phone calls and were eventually directed to Airlie Beach Crane Hire, which opened at 7am.

Steve McNair answered the call and, despite it being the Australia Day public holiday, he rallied the team and headed down to see if they could help.

Initially the tide was too low to allow the crane to reach the ailing vessel which was being rocked by a steady onslaught of waves on the beach.

Fortunately, within a few hours the king tide pushed the vessel up the beach, and they were able to attempt the rescue.

Mr McNair commented that it was challenging to rig it up and get the stays around it safely with “the waves coming over my head” at times.

When they eventually got it hooked up, however, the process happened quite fast and the large crowd watched excitedly as ‘Second Wind’ was given a second chance, and winched to safety, up over the beach fence and onto the dry land.

She was then moved onto a tow-truck and taken to the boat yard at Jubilee Pocket where she still remains.

Remarkably there is little damage, and despite assuming the costs would be high, the boat owners were elated to discover Airlie Beach Crane High waived their fees and did the job for free.

“We hate seeing people struggling,” said Mr McNair.

“So, all the boys said they didn’t want to be paid and we didn’t end up charging them.

“They were such good people, and everyone got an action-packed Australia, so it was all worth it!”

Mr McNair would like to thank his crew on the day, Graham and Gavin, plus Airlie Beach Crane Hire owner John Hassel for contributing to such an extraordinary experience.

The boat owners also wanted to say a huge thank you to Airlie Beach Crane Hire for all their hard work on the day, and also Airlie Towing and Tilt Tray Hire and Dave from Edge's Boatyard.

Owners of ‘Second Wind’, Julien Gallaud and Eloise Tyler, enjoy sailing recreationally. Photo supplied

The crane rig was lowered to over the vessel to secure it. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

Airlie Beach Crane High safely guided the boat over the beach fence. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

At one point the vessel was suspended in mid-air! Photo credit: Rachael Smith

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