Lost boat drifted 4000 nautical miles

Elle Farcic
The boat upside down and washed up in Madagascar. Picture: Stephen Knight

A boat that broke its moorings in Exmouth eight months ago has been found off the coast of Africa.

The boat, valued at $200,000, disappeared in May and was found "adrift and damaged" near Mayotte Island on January 2, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority

French officials notified the AMSA, which traced the boat to Perth.

According to reports, the 8m boat broke its moorings near Exmouth during wild weather in May last year.

"The boat drifted more than 4000 nautical miles across the Indian Ocean before trade winds moved it up the coast of Africa," the ABC reported this morning.

The boat's owner, Stephen Knight, said he was surprised to get a call with news that boat had been recovered.

"It's a surprise that no merchant vessels came across it in the last eight or nine months," Mr Knight told ABC radio."

He said he and a friend aboard the boat when it was hit by a king wave.

"I've been boating for 30 or 40 years and I'm very familiar with Exmouth, but we were near an island and there was a big storm that came in that evening which was totally unexpected," he told the ABC.

"The winds were recorded at 40 knots with 60 knot gusts and this was the middle of May, so it was totally unexpected and the boat drifted anchor and there was a change in the tide pattern so we coped a large wave over the side."

Both men swam to a nearby island and were rescued.

Mr Knight received an insurance payout for the loss of the vessel.