Grounded British yachtsman rescued

A lone British sailor has been rescued by the Australian Navy after his yacht ran aground on a remote reef.

A lone British sailor has been rescued by the Australian Navy after his yacht ran aground on a remote reef.

Stephen Landles, a 55-year-old IT manager from Wimbledon, south west London, was sailing from London to Sydney when he ran into trouble on a reef about 115 miles (185km) from Australia’s Lord Howe Island.

The island lies about 500 miles (800km) north east of Sydney, where Mr Landles was heading in a voyage which had taken more than 10 months.

Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat was sent from New South Wales to rescue the Briton, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

Mr Landles, who had set sail from the UK in September 2006, was winched to safety by navy helicopter from the stricken yacht.

The sailor had been accompanied on parts of his voyage – which took him through the Panama Canal, to the Galapagos Islands and a number of Pacific Islands – by his daughter, Kirsty, and her boyfriend, Andrew Pengelly.

But he was sailing solo when he hit the reef.

Before he was rescued, defence department spokesman Brigadier Andrew Nikolic said: “The yacht is taking on water and is in danger of breaking up in heavy seas and strong winds.”

Two search and rescue aircraft were in the area and a merchant vessel was also diverted there, the AMSA said.

Mr Landles was flown to Lord Howe Island after the rescue where he is recovering from his ordeal.

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