Lost yacht found 1700km off course
By Derek Cheng
The Auckland yacht that sparked a huge search has been reported safe and its father-and-son crew well, but blown 1700km off course.

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre had been searching since Friday for David Jones, 75, and his son Martin, 38, who had not been heard from since leaving Auckland on the 8.5m steel sloop Bluenose on June 5.

"They were found safe and well and a long way off course," said centre spokesman Steve Corbett.

"They had problems with their radio and were holed up on a small island."

The Bluenose was initially Tonga-bound, but arrived at New Caledonia's Isle of Pines, a tourist island 80km southeast of Noumea.

An Air Force Orion had searched along the yacht's expected path, covering more than 65,000sq km in 25 hours of flying time since Friday.

Mr Corbett believed the Bluenose had only just arrived at the Isle of Pines when the passing yacht Kuta told them of the search.

Kuta then alerted the rescue centre about 6.45pm yesterday.

Mr Corbett could not say how much the search had cost.

"The main priority is human life and you can't really put a price on that.

"It's a fantastic result after many hours of exhaustive searching."

He said the pair were planning to sail on to Noumea tomorrow morning.