Yacht stranded on sand bar off Shoal Point
A LONE sailor has been rescued after his yacht became wedged on a sand bar off Shoal Point.
The man, believed to be in his 50s, on board the vessel Shoreline Song, set off the emergency beacon about 9.30am after his Townsville-based yacht hit a sand bar at low tide near Little Green Island.
RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to begin a search and rescue mission of the area between Shoal Point and Cape Hillsborough and a helicopter took off about 10am.
They were able to hone in on the distress signal and locate the vessel very quickly but were unable to make contact with the sailor on board.
RACQ CQ Rescue crewman Callum Good said the helicopter crew decided to complete a 'hover exit' on Little Green Island, which saw him disembark the aircraft as it hovered very close to the island's rocky shore.
This type of manoeuvre was often performed primarily in areas where the terrain or vegetation prevented the helicopter from conducting a full skid landing, Mr Good said.
With the assistance of a passing fisherman and his dinghy, Mr Good travelled 500 metres to the stranded yacht and then swam the last few metres towards the vessel to make contact with the yachtsman aboard.
After assessing the health of the sailor, the safety and state of the vessel and assisting to turn off the EPIRB, the rescue crewman was returned to the island by dinghy and then completed a 'hover entry' back into the aircraft.
RACQ CQ Rescue then handed over to Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) who will assist the sailor to re-float the vessel at high tide later this afternoon.