Tom Delaney awarded for heroism

Tom Delaney, rewarded for heroic rescue

RESCUING people from the sea is second nature to well-knows Flinders identity Tom Delaney, who knows the local waters “like the back of his hand”

Tom, 63, has lost count of the number of distressed mariners he’s pulled to dafety, and some of them aren’t even grateful.

But a rescue of two crewmen from a yacht which hit an outcrop off Seal Rocks in Western Port Bay last October has won Mr Delaney, a former fisherman, a yachtsman and a coxswain for the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, an award for heroism.

The Goodman Zulu Chief, competing in the Hobart to Hatings leg of the bi-centennial Round Asutralia yacht race stuck the reef about 9pm on October 14.

At the tme Tom Delaney was at the finishing line to time the yachts as they arrived. He went to the rescue in the pilot launch holding a spot light in one hand to try and locate the stricken yacht through darkness and the spray of 5 to 6 metre waves.

It was a hair raising operation as the heavy seas smashed the Goodman Zulu Chief on the rocks and then drove it out to where it drifted, rudder smashed,and mast gone, and trailing ropes and wreckage, until its crew managed to get an achor out.

Tom Delaney manoeuvered his boat, with the risk of collision or fouling his propellor in the floating wreckage.

At last he came alongside the yacht and a crewman, Jeff Muller, volunteered to go on deck and catch the two crewmen as they jumped to safety.

Mr Delaney will be presented with a sertificate of commendation for hir heroism at an offical ceremony at Sorrento on July 9.

The award Scheme sponsored by the Department of Transport and Communications Sea Safety Centre, the Marine Rescue Association and Castrol.