MUA Crew in Dramatic Rescue of Round the World Solo Sailor

The MUA Crew of the emergency response vessel Coral Knight knew they had to move fast when they saw the stricken yacht of round the world solo sailor Martin Dolecek last Friday.

The 32-year-old Czech issued a cry for help 11 days prior after running aground on The Great Barrier Reef off Barrow Island, Queensland.


When the Aussie rescue crew appeared at first light on Friday 16 September, his yacht Alya 11 was being pushed further onto the coral reef by strong tides.

Dolecek told his Aussie rescuers: “It was like sitting inside a washing machine.”

Coral Knight crew member Gudge Richardson said conditions were so woeful, the stranded sailor was forced to abandon his yacht.

“The previous evening her keel had cracked and she had begun taking water and pretty soon the yacht washed completely over the reef and was destroyed,” Mr Richardson said.

Dolecek had already made for shore in his two-metre rubber dinghy, spending a harrowing night on the beach with saltwater crocs, wild pigs and sandflies.

“We rescued him at low tide and he was overjoyed to join us,” Mr Richardson said.

“The Bosun had made him up a cabin and he was provided with a hot meal, then headed straight to his much appreciated bunk.”

Queensland Assistant Branch Secretary Paul Gallagher said Dolecek spent several days on board the Coral Knight which dropped him on Thursday Island today.

“The MUA crew not only fed him and took care of him, they gave him $500 from their rolling fund to pay for a flight to Cairns,” Mr Gallagher said. 

“The MUA we will always be there for there for stricken mariners.”