Crashed yachtie spent the night in island cave
UPDATE 4:30pm: "I sat in a cave and watched my boat being smashed to bits".
This is how James Swan described his night after his yacht washed up on rocks at Pine Islet late yesterday.
The 68-year-old said he only had time to grab a blanket, a dry pair of jeans and a bottle of water before jumping on shore.
"I feared the boat might smash or a mast might fall on me," Mr Swan said.
"The weather was terrible, it was raining and blowing a gale.
"I spent the night 20m away from the crash under an overhanging ledge which protected me from the rain and wind.
"All I was thinking is it's time to give this away."
The Sydney native was rescued by RACQ CQ Rescue this morning after they abandoned their search last night due to poor weather and lighting conditions.
Rescue Crewman Justin Craiv said when they were approaching Pine Islet this morning, they could see the yacht's sails had been "torn to shreds".
"We saw James come out of his cave and wave at us," he said.
"After landing, a paramedic and I started walking to meet him and when we got up to him I said g'day James, I'm Justin, how are you going?
"He just said I've been better."
Mr Swan recently completed a three year solo navigation of the world before returning to Mackay in June.
He said he was on his way to Brisbane from Airlie Beach yesterday when a sail rope wrapped around the propeller, which left him with no engine and no way of escaping the oncoming rocks.
Mr Swan's yacht was not insured and almost everything he owned was on the boat.
With barely any money or belongings, tonight he will be catching a bus to Airlie Beach where he will sleep in his station wagon.
From there he is not sure what to do or where to go as he has few friends or family left, but is considering continuing his journey to Brisbane.
The $100,000 12m vessel still sits on Pine Islet, but Mr Swan has no means of rescuing it, so he is offering the public a proposal.
"If someone wants to salvage the boat, they can keep it, I just want my belongings back," he said.
"I've had some close calls before, especially in Fiji when I almost put it on a reef.
"But this is it now, this is the end."
INITIAL: AN AUSTRALIAN sailor had to sleep in a cave overnight after his yacht was swept onto rocks at Percy Island.
The man set off his EPIRB device at 10o'clock last night, and the RACQ-CQ Rescue helicopter was dispatched just after midnight.
The rescuers had to return to shore due to poor light and weather conditions, but resumed their search at first light this morning, and found the man at 8am.
RACQ-CQ Rescue's communications officer said the man was physically fine, but visibly shaken.
Map of the The Percy Group of islands
"The man has been travelling the world for three years, so everything he owned was on that yacht," she said.
"The yacht is most likely unsalvageable, so he has nothing left, not even any money to his name."
The man was sailing a 12m vessel named Banshe. He has been based around Airlie Beach for the past three months.