An ARC Europe yacht searching for the four yachtsmen who went missing seven days ago have found some debris. The US coast guard were informed by Malisi (Outremer 64) that debris had been sighted at position 39 14.164N 049 12.050W at 2100UTC on 21/05 within the search area of missing yacht Cheeki Rafiki.
The sighting comes after Malisi spent 36 hours scouring the area after diverting to assist with the search, under direction of the US Coastguard. Skipper Patrick Michel reported the object appeared to be ‘a wooden plank about 1-1.5m long and 20-30cm wide, medium brown in colour’ and that no marine growth was apparent, indicating that it is likely to have entered the water relatively recently. Two other items of debris were also sighted by Malisi with the search area and reported to the US Coastguard.
Following the sighting, Malisi has now left the search area and resumed course for their original destination of Horta in the Azores islands, due to crew commitments. They have been praised internationally and thanked by the families of the missing men for their efforts in assisting with the search. British yacht Gertha 4, also part of the ARC Europe fleet, has now entered the search area and begun to sail in a search pattern in the hope of further sightings.
The four yachtsmen, Andrew Bridge, 22, James Male, 23, Steve Warren,52, and Paul Goslin, 56, were sailing back to the UK from racing their Beneteau First 40.7, Cheeky Rafiki, at Antigua Week.