The USS New Jersey nearly ran down a yacht carrying anti-nuclear demonstrators as the battleship maneuvered into Sydney harbor Tuesday through a flotilla of yachts, canoes and surfboards.

The New Jersey's skipper, Capt. Douglas Katz, said his 57,000-ton battlewagon would probably have sunk the yacht had it had not been dragged clear at the last moment."If it had not been for that police boat pulling it off we'd have split it in half," Katz said. "The guy on that police boat was very brave."

The police boat managed to secure the yacht and tow it clear seconds before the battleship steamed by.

Other protesters in assorted small craft attempted to get alongside the ship and plaster it with anti-nuclear slogans but were kept away by a cordon of police and Australian navy speed boats.