January 10, 2007
SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) -- A sailor whose yacht was destroyed by a humpback whale off New Zealand said he had got a good "vibe" from the giant mammal and thought it was trying to say sorry, local media said on Wednesday.
Lindsay Wright was sailing his brand-new 10-meter (30-ft) trimaran, named Loose Goose, about 80 nautical miles off the west coast of North Island on Tuesday when he hit the whale.
Wright said he had been sleeping when he was awoken by a loud noise and rushed up on deck to find himself staring at a whale's head about a foot away.
"I got good vibes off him. I thought he was trying to say sorry mate, I didn't mean to," Wright told New Zealand television.
He said the whale, a large male in a pod of about six humpbacks, had hit his yacht with its tail, opening a large hole in one of the boats's three hulls.
"When I first saw him I thought he had come back for the coup de grace," Australian Associated Press quoted Wright as saying.
Wright activated a distress beacon as his yacht took on water and lost electrical power. He was winched to safety aboard a rescue helicopter about five hours later, Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio said.