When Rick Williams woke up before dawn on Monday, he was shocked to learn that a boat had sunk in the Far North and he was looking for survivors.

Three of his companions were on a fishing charter in the area, and he hoped they weren’t on board.

However, around 8 a.m., his worst fears were confirmed.

Mike Lovett was among those who died when Enchanter, a charter fishing boat, sank in the Far North on Sunday.

PROVIDED/Material

Mike Lovett was among those who died when Enchanter, a charter fishing boat, sank in the Far North on Sunday.

“After that, we had to wait and hope that they were the ones who survived. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

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There were 10 people on board Enchanter, a 17-meter vessel operating out of Mangonui, when it was hit by what some called a “rogue wave” near Murimotu Island, off the coast of North Cape during a storm Sunday evening.

Enchanter, a 17m fishing vessel operating from Mangonui, sank off the North Cape on Sunday evening.

Provided

Enchanter, a 17m fishing vessel operating from Mangonui, sank off the North Cape on Sunday evening.

Five people, including Captain Lance Goodhew and deckhand Kobe O’Neill, were winched to safety by a rescue helicopter in the dark.

Four bodies have since been recovered, while the search for another missing man continues on Tuesday.

Among those who died were Cambridge men Mike Lovett, 72, Richard Bright, 63, and Mark Sanders, 43.

“I lost three mates in one day,” said Williams, general manager of thoroughbred horse breeder The Oaks Stud. Thing on Tuesday morning.

“It was a terrible day.”

Mark Sanders, who died in the sinking of the fishing vessel Enchanter, was the father of three children.

Provided

Mark Sanders, who died in the sinking of the fishing vessel Enchanter, was the father of three children.

Lovett, a father of four, was employed as a handyman at The Oaks Stud and worked there for 16 years.

He was part of a horse racing syndicate that owned a horse named after him, called Lovettitorleaveit.

Williams said Lovett enjoys fishing – “it was a priority” – playing golf and horse racing.

It was a “creature of habit”. Every day, after finishing work at 2:30 p.m., he went to the Group One Turf Bar in Cambridge, where he drank four beers before heading home.

The enchanter's captain Lance Goodhew survived the sinking.

Provided

The enchanter’s captain Lance Goodhew survived the sinking.

Prior to working at stud, Lovett was the bar manager at the now defunct Leamington Tavern in Cambridge.

“Mike was a good old-fashioned Kiwi. He was honest, reliable and consistent. He was a very practical man to be around.

Chris Wood, who had been friends with Lovett for around 40 years, described him as a “good type of hitter and a good family man”.

“You probably wouldn’t find a nicer guy than Mike Lovett.”

Bright, a father-of-two, was the publican at Group One Turf Bar in Cambridge, where he and Williams, a Thursday and Friday night regular, first met around two decades ago.

Cambridge publican Richard Bright is remembered as a

PROVIDED

Cambridge publican Richard Bright is remembered as an “irrepressible character”.

“He had this kind of irrepressible character and personality about him – very cheeky. He was a modern-day Basil Fawlty. He was f……hilarious.

Williams said he and Bright have become good friends and go on vacation together every year, usually in February.

Bright was “very generous” and raised a lot of money for people and groups, like the local volunteer fire department.

“He was larger than life.”

Williams knew Sanders, a builder and father of three, from horse racing. The couple had traveled overseas together, when Sanders trained horses in partnership with his father, Graeme Sanders.

“He was just a top guy. He had a great work ethic and was a good family man.

Williams said Bright and Lovett had been on a fishing charter in the Far North several years ago, but weren’t sure if it was on Enchant.

The Cambridge community struggled to understand what had happened.

“It’s pretty raw right now. Words can’t explain how we all feel.

One of Lovett’s two daughters declined to comment.

The wreckage of Enchanter, photographed from the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter / Supplied

The wreckage of Enchanter, photographed from the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Raglan Fishing Charters owner-operator Darron Thornton said Bright regularly brings groups of 12 to 18 people on his 16m boat. The trips, which mainly targeted snappers, were booked through the Group One Turf Bar and appeared to be part of some kind of club.

Thornton said he got to know Bright – a “funny guy…who liked a joke” – as a friend.

Bright had phoned him last week as he traveled to Mangonui for the fishing charter. He was hoping to catch a marlin, which was on his bucket list.

On Monday, Sanders’ family said Thing the fishing charter was his “dream trip” – an excursion he had been planning for over a year.

Before leaving, he told his father that he was worried about the forecast.

In a phone call to his wife and children around 6 p.m. Sunday, Sanders said he was having a good time, but the seas were getting choppy.

On Tuesday morning, Maritime NZ spokesman Nick Burt said the search for a man still missing from the sinking had resumed.

It involved three boats, two helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft. Police divers were available, if needed.

“While we have a number of places of interest, we need to thoroughly check around 500 nautical miles of ocean.”