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The skipper’s death could have been prevented with a simple yacht upgrade, the report says

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A report shows that skipper Stuart Pedersen's death could have been prevented if storm covers had been fitted to his yacht.

SunLive

A report shows that skipper Stuart Pedersen’s death could have been prevented if storm covers had been fitted to his yacht.

A skipper’s death in 2019 could have been prevented had storm covers been fitted to his ship, a new report from Maritime New Zealand shows.

In October 2019, Stuart Pedersen died after his yacht, named Essence, sank in bad weather 37 km off Cape Brett in Northland’s Bay of Islands.

The report, released Thursday, said storm covers would have protected the cabin windows if they had been fitted.

Stuart Pedersen and his wife Pamela became entangled in a life raft after the sinking and had to be cut free.

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

Stuart Pedersen and his wife Pamela became entangled in a life raft after the sinking and had to be cut free.

The safety regulations have now been updated to prevent similar incidents.

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The regulations at the time did not require ships sailing from New Zealand on international voyages to have storm covers in heavy seas.

However, regulations required storm covers to be available if needed, said Neil Rowarth, Maritime NZ’s Northern Compliance Manager.

“Following the recommendations of the report, Maritime NZ has partnered with Yachting NZ to adapt safety regulations to require storm covers to be placed on windows of a certain size on sailing vessels.”

Rescue workers battled severe weather and on the high seas, consisting of a six-meter swell and gusts of 40 to 50 knots, in an attempt to rescue Pedersen and three other sailors, including Pedersen’s wife Pamela.

A Westpac rescue helicopter retrieved the four sailors from the yacht, but Pedersen was unable to be revived.

The yacht had returned from Fiji when it encountered some bad weather.

MORE TO COME.

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