Yachtsman hand steers for 54 hours after battery failure

Meressa V prior to being towed into Edrom by Eden Water Police.

Meressa V prior to being towed into Edrom by Eden Water Police.

A yachtsman bringing a 30 foot Carter from Lake Macquarie to Melbourne had to be towed into Eden in the early hours of Sunday morning after battling fatigue and weather issues.

Ken Forbes left Lake Macquarie a couple of weeks ago with the idea of sailing the Meressa V to Melbourne after purchasing the yacht but there were problems with the battery.

"By the time I got to Jervis Bay the battery was flat and I had to hand steer for 36 hours," Mr Forbes said.

He bought a new battery at Batemans Bay but it went flat after 10 hours. Before the battery died he said the wind speed was 38 knots but was sure it increased after he lost power.

He was battling gales around Montague Island and only did "10 miles in 10 hours" he said.

Without power he was forced to continue hand steering, using charts to plot his course and ended up steering non-stop for 54 hours.

It was in the early hours of Sunday morning, November 10 when Marine Rescue at Batemans Bay contacted him while he was approaching Eden.

"They asked me how I was doing and I told them not very well," Mr Forbes said.

"As the southerly came through I got blown out of Eden and back out to sea," he said.

Eden Water Police tow Meressa V into Edrom.

Eden Water Police tow Meressa V into Edrom.

Sergeant Steven Judd of the Eden Water Police said Mr Forbes had no battery to run a radio and had got caught in the south westerly.

"He was extremely fatigued and had done 50-odd hours without sleeping. He had run out of power but still had to navigate and was doing it using charts, the old-fashioned way. We got him seven miles off the coast and then towed him in the last few miles to Edrom," Sergeant Judd said.

For Mr Forbes it was a return to Eden as he had worked on trawlers in the 1990s.

Now Meressa V is in for a little work at Eden and Mr Forbes will be returning to complete the Eden to Melbourne leg of the journey soon.

"It's a nice little boat," he said of his recent purchase.

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