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Men rescued by cruise ship off New Caledonia arrive in Brisbane

“It’s a no-brainer isn’t it? You have to go help them,” he said.

“Fortunately, they were on the route so I didn’t have to turn back or anything like that … I was signing teddy bears until 30 minutes before we had to pick them up,” he joked.

“They didn’t even look the part of shipwrecked sailors when they came on board … they could’ve done a bit more, you know, ‘wait until you get on the scene, yeah we’ll sink the boat now’.”

Mr Dockeray said this was not his first rescue near Vanuatu.

“The reefs there are unforgiving but these guys didn’t find a reef, they found a mooring line,” he said.

Chris Doran, recalling the panic on the sinking yacht on Thursday morning, said the trio had sprung into action as soon as they knew something was wrong.


“The boat came to a stop and shuttered,” he said.

“The boat motors and the alarms started going. Everybody got up, I was on watch.

“Initially we thought we might’ve hit a reef but looking at the navigation, it wasn’t the case and then we found quite a large ship rope.

“We pulled about 50 metres of it in but it was obviously wrapped around the boat and caused the breach in the fault and the boat started filling with water.

“All the pumps were going, (we) got the manual pump going, but we just couldn’t keep up.”

Mr Doran said they abandoned ship, throwing in food and safety equipment into a life raft.

“I wasn’t worried about the boat because we couldn’t save it, there was no way we could’ve saved it,” he said.

“We had a few issues getting away from the boat because of the rough seas but when we were away inflating, it was quite comfortable and was in constant contact with Alan and his team.

“I think the biggest concern was maybe we might hit a reef because we were six miles [9.65 kilometres] away from a reef, which would have cut the raft up plus us.”

The sailors travelled on the yacht, Liberty, to New Caledonia for three months and were passing through Vanuatu and the islands before heading to the Gold Coast this month.

“After doing all the miles….how do you hit a piece of rope in the middle of the ocean?” Chris Doran questioned his luck.

“I’ve heard it happens but it is pretty rare.

“In one way we were so unlucky that we picked up a rope and were disabled but on another stroke of luck, the Pacific Dawn was about 55 miles [88.5 kilometres] away.”

He said he had spent six years sailing on the Liberty, including a recent trip to Hobart with his cousin Kevin.

“(There were) a lot of memories with the family and it was a beautiful boat,” Chris said.

“Sad to see it go.”

However, the trio said this was not the end of their adventures and would soon be back in the water soon.

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