vivierae II yacht adrift in indonesia

2 images

30m Nordhavn yacht recovered after floating adrift for more than a week

13 March 2023 • Written by Katia Damborsky

The 29.5-metre Nordhavn motor yacht VivieRae II has been rescued after 10 days floating adrift in the Arafuru Sea following an incident on March 2 that left the yacht disabled around 158 nautical miles east of Merauke, West Papua Indonesia.

Speaking to BOAT International, the owner of the yacht said it had been "a very difficult and arduous 10 days" but he was fortunate that no one was hurt and the vessel was recovered safely.

According to the yacht's owner, Bob Giles, the incident occurred when the crew was trying to retrieve a tow line attached to the yacht's tender. The rope became entangled in the running gear, causing the captain to shut off the engines. 

"The captain was able to drop anchor although the depth is about 60 meters and VivieRae II has about 85 to 90 meters of anchor chain," explained Giles. Waves of up to four metres and worsening winds caused the anchor chain to drag, and an initial attempt to rescue the crew of six proved too dangerous. 

The crew was safely evacuated the next day by an Australian military ship, but the boat remained unmanned at sea for several days until Giles could reach the vessel. 

Giles accompanied by former captain Gareth Schwegman, reached the vessel on Sunday March 12. "[We] used scuba equipment to dive underVivieRae II and clear the tow line from the port propeller and a large fishing net entangled in the starboard [propellor] along with the starboard stabiliser fin," he said. "The operation took about two hours to clear both propellers, we also found no damage to the running gear."

The tender which VivieRae II had been towing, Ricochet, was initially lost during the incident, but was spotted by a pilot boat near Australia's Thursday Island around 240 miles south of the yacht's position. "We were planning to go to Brisbane to make repairs to VivieRae II and planned to clear customers at Thursday Island Australia, so it was very convenient to recover Ricochet," added Giles. 

The vessel arrived at Thursday Island today (March 13). "Once repairs are completed in Brisbane I will continue my journey west around the world and enjoy the next year so enjoying that adventure," said Giles.

Sponsored listings