by Kate Dwyer
TAKING ‘Time Out’ proved a risky business for father and son sailors Col and Aaron Purton last week.
The experienced yachtsmen were sailing their newly-purchased Top Hat 25 from Trial Bay to Sydney for renovation in preparation for its future as a family fun cruiser on Sydney Harbour.
After mooring overnight in the Camden Haven they rose early Thursday morning with news of favourable conditions to cross the bar and continue their southward journey.
After crossing the bar safely their yacht ‘Time Out’ was hit by a large freak wave.
“It stood us on our end and we came smashing down,” said Aaron.
Below deck a something dislodged and sheared the sink fitting sending water gushing through a 4cm in diameter hole.
Half an hour later Col said he noticed the boat feeling “a bit sluggish”.
“With the sea boards in (the boards to stop water entering the boat when waves crash over the decks) we didn’t notice anything wrong. I asked Aaron to get me a drink and when he opened the hatch he saw the water.”
Aaron said he waded in waist-deep water to find the problem. At first the pair thought the wave had cracked the hull until Aaron heard a gushing noise. Aaron found the hole at the sink and put his hand over to try and stem the flow while searching for wedges to plug the hole.
“The wedges were floating away from their original place, the two radios were under water, our phones were under water, the computer,” said Col.
“It just so happened that I bought a third radio and it was on a high shelf so we were able to call for help.”
By another stroke of luck the Camden Haven Sea Rescue had a crew doing maintenance on their rescue boat - so when the emergency call came in at 6.30am they were ready to go. Sea rescue personnel said they found Time Out near the wreck of the Titan - the floating crane which was sunk off the coast at Point Perpendicular in 1992.
“Another 15 minutes and I reckon we would have had to jump,” said Aaron.
“Even under tow the stern was completely under.”
The pair praised the volunteers of the Camden Haven Sea Rescue who came to their aid.
“The sea rescue did a grand job,” said Col.
The Time Out was repaired at the slipway at the Laurieton Fisherman’s Co-op, bedding and equipment dried out before setting sail again as soon as possible.