Fishing guide Stu Dever became Queenstown’s first hero of 2009 when he rescued two distressed boaties on New Year’s Day.
The lunchtime drama happened when Dever scrambled to answer an SOS from an out-of-control yacht heading for rocks on Lake Wakatipu.
“A Mayday went out on the radio and I raced straight out there in my fishing boat with my friend Louis Adamson,” he says. “The yacht had got into trouble when the rudder broke and it was drifting onto rocks in the narrows across from Kelvin Heights.
“The coastguard wasn’t around and the rescue had to be done there and then.
“If we hadn’t got to the boat in time, it would have hit the rocks and possibly disintegrated and the people would have been in the water.
“Fortunately, we managed to tow it over to the Wakatipu Yacht Club and everyone was okay.”
Steve Mear, the rescued yacht’s owner, says he and a friend aboard can’t thank Dever enough.
“It was only my second time out on the boat and I couldn’t believe it when the rudder snapped off and suddenly we had no steering,” Mear explains. “I put out a call to all vessels in the area saying we needed assistance.
“Things could have turned really nasty if hadn’t been for Stu. The guy was brilliant.”