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Rescued yachties arrive in Auckland

Sunday 11 Nov 2012 5:52 p.m.

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By Susie Nordqvist

A stranded yachtie rescued in the Pacific Ocean by the New Zealand Navy had no satellite phone, so his weather forecasts were days out of date, and no insurance for his boat.

The yachtie and his Kiwi partner arrived in Devonport today.

Tania Davies is back on land and she's told her mum she's never stepping foot on a yacht again.

“There was water up to nearly our knees, and we don't understand where it was coming from at that stage,” says Ms Davies. “The battery was out. All food, all cups, everything – clothes, everything – cupboards flown off, doors blown off, winds howling, noises. You can't even explain the noises; they were just ear-splitting.”

The Auckland woman and her partner, Steve Jones, spent two days clinging to their stricken yacht in the middle of the Pacific Ocean before help came.

“The feeling of the sound other than what we were experiencing over the top of us going ‘shoo zoo of’ was incredible,” says Ms Davies. “We were relieved.”

The pair was winched to safety by a container ship on Friday morning, before being met by a Royal New Zealand Navy vessel.

“That's Minerva Reef there,” says Navy captain Rob McCaw. “You've got Tonga up there, Fiji up there, and that's where they were. Certainly I think they're pretty glad to be seeing Christmas.”

And one woman who was meant to be on board the stricken yacht was glad she didn't go.

“I don't know how I would have coped,” says Diane Gordon. “Like they say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going, but I think it would have stretched me right to my limit.”

And Mr Jones didn’t' do himself any favours. It emerged today he had no sat-phone, which meant his weather forecast was well out of date, and his boat wasn't insured either.

This afternoon, Ms Davies and Mr Jones were greeted at Devonport Naval Base by family and friends.

It was the first time Mr Jones had met Ms Davies’ mother. He apologised for the incident.

As for the future, Mr Jones says farming sounds “very attractive at the moment”.

“A nice farm, a green field and no sea views.”

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