Yachting Boating World: The UK Coastguard has issued a safety warning after six people died in rough seas around Britain over the weekend.
Three men, two women and a six-year-old boy were killed in Cornwall, Essex, Dorset, Jersey and Aberdeen.
The Met Office had issued a yellow ‘be aware’ warning on 19 August. Gusts of up to 60mph were forecast for exposed coastlines in the south and west.
The strong winds and large waves also coincided with a period of spring tides over the weekend.
The UK Coastguard urged everyone to be careful around surging waves.
“Stay away from areas where surging waves could sweep you off your feet, or hit rocks and cause a huge amount of spray,” it advised.
“Be careful of tides; it’s easy to become cut off and strong wind conditions will mean that the sea will reach higher levels than expected. Heed warnings from lifeguards,” it added.
James Instance for the UK Coastguard issued this warning.
“What should be an enjoyable experience could so easily take a traumatic turn, so please do listen to warnings and stay at a safe distance from the water,” he stressed.
The first casualty of the weekend happened on 19 August at Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall.
Rudy and Lisinda Bruynius and their three children were knocked off rocks and washed into the sea.
The couple’s two sons managed to scramble back on to rocks. RNLI lifeguards rescued Mrs Bruynius using their jetski.
Her husband and their two-year-old daughter was rescued by the Newquay lifeboat. Mr Bruyunius later died in hospital.
On 20 August, a windsurfer in his 60s died after getting into difficulties off West Mercia, Essex.
Dan Baker, who was described by friends as an experienced windsurfer, was airlifted to hospital at just after midday but later died.
Just hours later, a man got into difficulty while swimming outside the safe swim area at Sandbanks beach in Poole, Dorset.
He was rescued from the water by lifeguards, who performed CPR. The crew of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and paramedics also attended but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later on Saturday afternoon, two brothers were paddling in the sea off Aberdeen when they were swept out.
Their mother, 37-year-old Julie Walker, along with others, tried to rescue the children. All of them needed rescuing. Both Walker and her six-year-old son, Lucas died.
Walker’s 13-year-old son, Samuel is recovering in hospital. A man and a woman also received medical treatment.
On Saturday evening, a female swimmer was recovered from rough seas off Jersey. Joy Godfray, 31, later died in hospital.
She had been swimming near Green Island beach with a male companion, who was rescued by a member of the public.
Practical Boat Owner: A motor cruiser sank after running aground on rocks at Puffin Island off the eastern tip of Anglesey, Wales.
The two crew aboard the 35ft boat, Le Babe, made a Mayday call at around midday today, 14 July. They were rescued by a local motor cruiser run by Anglesey Boat Trips. Le Babe sank before it could be removed from the scene by lifeboat crews.
A spokesman for RNLI Beaumaris said: ‘The volunteer crew members of the RNLI Beaumaris and Moelfre lifeboats were paged at 12.18pm on Thursday 14 July 2016 in response to a Mayday call from a vessel that had struck the rocks on the west end of Puffin Island.
‘Upon the arrival of the lifeboats at the scene the crew of two who had been aboard the 35ft motor boat had been taken off by a local motor cruiser.
‘Beaumaris lifeboat then came along side the local RIB and transferred the two crew to Moelfre lifeboat.
‘As they required no medical assistance the crew of the casualty vessel had been brought back to Beaumaris Pier by another local boat.
‘In view of the location of the casualty vessel and it being in danger of sinking both the Beaumaris and the Moelfre lifeboats attempted to remove the boat from the rocks but they could not do so before the vessel sank.
‘The Annette Mary Liddington returned to Beaumaris and The Kiwi returned to Moelfre both the lifeboats having been at sea for five and half hours on this service.’
A spokesman for Puffin Island Cruises said: ‘Our very own Captain Stan (former member of the Beaumaris lifeboat crew) contacted Holyhead Coastguard to raise the alarm when the vessel’s own mayday calls went unanswered.
‘We gather that all persons on board were safely taken from the vessel by our friends at Anglesey Boat Trips who were running trips to Puffin Island from Conwy.’
Yachting Boating World: Timothy Lenz was living on board the boat when it caught fire off the coast of Saco, Maine. His wife’s ashes were on board when the vessel sank.
The retired veteran, who lives alone, was on a trip to Connecticut when the engine compartment caught fire near Wood Island, Maine.
Lenz told the television station, WMTW that he tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but the smoke was too thick.
He took the decision to abandon his 31-foot motorboat, leaving behind his wife’s ashes. He was rowing away from the boat in his skiff when he was later picked up by a passing fisherman, who alerted the authorities.
The Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol and Saco Fire Department responded to the fire.
A spokesman for the Maine Marine Patrol said: “The vessel was fully engulfed when Marine Patrol arrived and was eventually extinguished by local Fire Department personnel. Marine Patrol transported Mr. Lenz to Camp Ellis where he was evaluated and released by local EMS.”
“Marine Patrol reports that Mr. Lenz’s boat sank as a result of the fire. No plans have been reported yet to recover the vessel,” concluded the spokesman.
Lenz said he has lost most of his valuables in the fire and subsequent sinking. But, he is trying to remain positive.
“If I had stepped into the boat any deeper with that black smoke, I probably wouldn’t have come back out. They probably would’ve found me,” Lenz told WMTW.
He said he is very grateful to the passing fisherman who came to his aid: “I’m just glad that a fisherman come by, saw me, because I was in the little dingy rowing away as fast as I could,” Lenz said.
An investigation is now underway to find out the exact cause of the fire.
Yachting Boating World: Alchemist, the yacht belonging to the commodore of the Island Sailing Club, sank during the Round the Island Race on 2 July after hitting a shipwreck.
But it was good news for TP52 Gladiator who won the race and MOD70 Phaedo 3 who smashed the multihall record time.
It was shot by a crew member of RNLI Mudeford, which rescued the crew just seconds before the yacht sank.
It started taking on water after hitting the shipwreck of the SS Varbassi just east of The Needles on the Isle of Wight. The vessel was competing in the Round the Island Race on 2 July.
The Dubois half-tonner, Alchemist, sank in 17 metres of water just east of The Needles, Isle of Wight on 2 July.
The yacht hit the wreck of the SS Varvassi while competing in the Round the Island Yacht Race.
The Junior Offshore Group (JOG) racer belongs to the commodore of the Island Sailing Club, Mark Wynter. He was not on board at the time, and none of the crew were injured in the incident.
The Yarmouth RNLI all weather lifeboat, the Mudeford RNLI inshore lifeboat and The Needles coastguard rescue team all responded to the incident.
The Mudeford RNLI rescued the crew just seconds before Alchemist sank.
Strong winds during the racing, especially south of the Isle of Wight, meant challenging conditions for many taking part. Racing for some of the smaller classes of yacht was cancelled.
The Yarmouth lifeboat was called to six incidents during day, including the loss of a mast, damaged rudder, crew injuries and damaged hulls.
The sinking of the Alchemist has been reported to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Pollution was minimal because the yacht had little diesel onboard.
Meanwhile a yachtsman was taken to hospital on 1 July after being knocked unconscious while practicing for the Round the Island Race.
The man, who is in his 30s, suffered serious head injuries when he was thrown onto a winch handle. He was on board a 40 foot Sunsail ocean racer.
Cowes RNLI took the man to shore where he was taken to St Mary’s Hospital. Despite the challenging conditions, race organisers say that only a small percentage of the fleet retired from the race.
The overwhelming majority of competitors – some of whom saw gusts to almost 40 knots – successfully completed the course.
The winners of the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl for the first IRC boat on corrected time was Bernard Langley’s TP52 Gladiator.
The crew completed the course in less than four and a half hours from Gladiator’s start, beating Sir Keith Mills’ FAST 40+ Invictus, which had Prince Harry on board as crew.
Gladiator’s owner, Tony Langley, is currently racing his other TP52 in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, but his three children, Tom, Charlotte and Bernard, who helmed, all took part in the race.
“It was a windy and rough race,” said boat captain Brett Aarons, “especially in the overfalls off St Catherine’s and Dunnose. It was very wet, both on deck and below.”
Nevertheless the team never held back, hoisting the A3 spinnaker at the Needles, before peeling to the A4 at St Catherine’s Point and hitting speeds of 20-24 knots.
“At that point we knew that we had a chance of a good result,” stated Aarons.
“At that kind of speed, the adverse tide only slows you by a small percentage. Once we were back in the eastern Solent we were still in the last of the west-going favourable tide and were almost able to lay the finish line in one tack – it was a huge advantage,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Lloyd Thornburg’s giant MOD70 trimaran Phaedo^3, tore round the course in two hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds.
In doing so he smashed the record time Sir Ben Ainslie set in 2013 by a stunning 28 minutes.
Speaking after crossing the line, Thornburg said: “We’re over the moon, the team work on board was fantastic and it was just on the edge where we could keep the full main up, so the boat was totally powered up.”
The largest monohull in the fleet, Mike Leopard’s 100ft Leopard, took monohull line honours, but failed to beat the record time he set in 2013 by 13 minutes.
When asked for his take on this 80th race in its 85th Anniversary year, ISC Sailing Flag and head of the ISC Race Management team, Dave Atkinson, acknowledged the challenges.
“The heavy weather forced us into making some pretty major decisions in cancelling some classes but we feel that with safety always being paramount, we were entirely justified in doing what we did,” he said.
“There are a few sad faces but many more happy ones. We act as we do with the information that we have and at the end of the day I think it has been an incredibly successful weekend,” concluded Atkinson.
Yachting Boating World: An investigation has now been launched after an abandoned boat was spotted on fire on the River Thames. It later sank close to the Wokingham Waterside Centre.
Thames Valley Police are now investigating the cause of a fire on board a boat which later sank. Officers on a towpath at Cholmeley Road, Reading spotted the burning vessel at around 1.30am on 27 June.
The boat was floating down the river behind the Thames Valley Business Park. Firefighters from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service were called.
Two fire engines, the specialist appliance from Maidenhead and the water rescue unit and boat responded.
The crew on board the water rescue unit boat tried to reach the vessel to tow it ashore but the boat was so badly damaged that it sank near to the Wokingham Waterside Centre.
The police say that it is not believed that anyone was on board the 15 foot vessel. No one was injured in the incident.
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “Thames Valley police officers on a towpath at Cholmley Road, Reading spotted a fire on a 15ft boat (apparently abandoned) floating down the river.”
“Fire service attended and attempted to tow boat to shore but it was so badly damaged that it sank. It is not believed at this stage that anyone was on board at the time,” concluded the spokesman.
A team from the Environment Agency has since attended the scene to ensure the boat wasn’t causing a hazard to navigation.
Practical Boat Owner: Coastal fatality figures released today by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) show the number of deaths at the UK coast reached a five-year high in 2015, with 168 people losing their lives.
The number of near-fatal incidents was higher still, with the RNLI’s UK lifeboat crews and lifeguards saving 385 lives in 2015, according to the organisation’s incident data.
The figures are released as the charity enters the third year of its national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, which aims to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024.
The campaign is targeted at adult men, who account for most incidents. Last year saw an increase in the number of men losing their lives at the coast. Between 2011 and 2014 men have accounted for 75% of coastal deaths but, in 2015, this increased to 84%.
Around half of the people who die at the coast each year never planned to enter the water. Of the 168 deaths last year, more than half (52%) did not intend to get wet – people taking part in activities such as coastal walking, running, climbing or angling.
Coastal walking and running accounted for 21% of last year’s coastal deaths.
A father’s story
Phil Bindon’s son Mike was lost at sea in 2014, aged 23, after being swept in by an unexpected wave. Phil and his daughters Katie and Jenny are sharing the story of their personal tragedy, to warn others of the power and unpredictability of the water. Phil says:
‘Mike and his friend were at the coast at Polzeath. A freak wave caught Mike and swept him into the water. The lifeboats and helicopter were out searching for hours. I just wanted Mike back home. It was very hard as a parent to know that he was out there somewhere and there was nothing I could do about getting him back.
‘Mike’s body has never been found. It breaks my heart. No one expects to lose a child. An accident like this is a tragedy that I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through. I want people to learn from Mike’s death and understand how dangerously unpredictable the sea can be. Accidents like this can happen to anyone.’
The main dangers the RNLI is warning people about while at the coast are cold water, slips and falls, rip currents and waves.
James Millidge, RNLI coastal safety manager, says: ‘People need to treat the water with respect – it’s powerful and unpredictable. Each year RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards save hundreds of lives but, sadly, not everyone can be saved. Over 160 lives are lost at the UK coast each year and the real tragedy of the situation is that many of these deaths could have been prevented.
‘Cold water is a real killer. People often don’t realise how cold our seas can be – even in summer months the sea temperature rarely exceeds 12oc, which is low enough to trigger cold water shock. If you enter the water suddenly at that temperature, you’ll start gasping uncontrollably, which can draw water into your lungs and cause drowning. The coldness also numbs you, leaving you helpless – unable to swim or shout for help.
‘The fact that over half of the people who die at the coast each year never planned to enter the water suggests people are also not taking enough care along the coastline itself. We’re warning people to stay away from cliff edges, particularly where there is slippery, unstable or uneven ground; stick to marked paths and keep an eye on the water – watch out for unexpected waves which can catch you out and sweep you into the water.
‘If you’re planning to get into the water be aware that, even if it looks calm on the surface, there can be strong rip currents beneath the surface, which can quickly drag you out to sea. The sea is powerful and can catch out even the strongest and most experienced swimmers.’
Double Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell is supporting the campaign. He says: ‘UK coastline is beautiful and should be enjoyed – but it’s really important that people treat the water with respect. From personal experience I know how powerful and unpredictable the sea can be. A seemingly calm situation can quickly turn into the exact opposite. We’re urging people to be aware of the danger.’
The charity is asking people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find information on coastal hazards, how to keep themselves safe, and what to do should they or someone else end up in trouble in the water. On social media search #RespectTheWater.
Motorboat & Yachting: In the Mediterranean, the west coast of Italy is blessed with some of the finest harbours and beautiful islands.
From Genoa, as its centrepiece Campania province has the stunning Bay of Naples and here you can find dazzling theatre of history dominated by the shadow of Vesuvius, a menacing volcano a few miles inland. Off the north arm of the bay, there are two small islands, Procida and Ischia with subtropical vibes. On the southern side of the bay of Naples, Sorrento Peninsula points you towards the romantic island of Capri in the rich blue sea.
A short cruise to the west you’ll reach Pontine Archipelago with its picturesque harbours of Ponza and Ventotene.
The city Naples itself is a noisy cultural melting pot with lots of contrasts, where gracious piazzas, opulent palaces and ornate churches are set against narrow streets in the shafts of bright sunshine.
The place to begin a Campania cruise with, is on the southern side of Sorrento Peninsula, where the Amalfi Coast looks across the Gulf of Salerno with sparse villages clinging to its cliffs. As you are getting closer, more looming layers emerge from the haze, as the peaks of Monti Lattari rise to 1,500 metres.
At the head of its gulf, Salerno is an attractive cruising base and a favourite for many sailors because the place feels so pleasantly ordinary.
Practical Boat Owner: An uncharted wreck of a WWI German submarine, missing in action since 1915, has been officially identified three years after being discovered off the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk.
Survey teams from windfarm developers ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) and Vattenfall spotted the wreck in September 2012 while seabed scanning for the development of windfarm projects in the East Anglia Zone.
Yesterday it was announced that the wreck has been officially identified as German submarine, U-31, which left for patrol on 13 January 1915 never to return. The wreck is approximately 90km offshore in the North Sea but sits on the seabed at a depth of only 30 metres.
SPR and Vattenfall used advanced sonar technology to scan over 6,000km2 of the seabed in the Southern North Sea over two years.
Although more than 60 wrecks were discovered during the scanning work, most of these were anticipated, but the uncharted submarine 90km from shore was entirely unexpected.
The Royal Netherlands Navy was duly notified to investigate whether it was Dutch military submarine HNLMS O13, which went missing in action in June 1940, after the crew were tasked to patrol the waters between Denmark and Norway.
The wreck discovered within the East Anglia Zone is 57.6 metres in length, 4.1 metres in width and 4.6 metres in height and the bow appears to be facing south. Damage was observed at the bow and the stern, so the original length could be slightly longer than it appears and debris surrounding the wreck suggests a more likely length of over 60 metres (but less than 70m).
GoPro footage taken by the Dutch Navy divers highlighted clear images of the conning tower and deck lay-out, which suggested the wreck was of German origin. From German drawings it was identified that this was a WWI German submarine: Type U-31. A database of reference books shows that only U-boats U-31 and U-34 had been lost in this area of the North Sea.
As an official military maritime grave, the wreck of U-31 will remain in its final resting place and plans for any offshore windfarm development will be progressed ensuring no disturbance to the area.
Practical Boat Owner: A piece of metal recovered from the sea off the Isles of Scilly looks to be debris from an American space rocket.
It was reported to the UK Coastguard yesterday afternoon, which immediately issued a warning to shipping in the area.
The debris was recovered with the help of local professional boatman, before being towed into New Grimsby and is currently securely held on the beach at Tresco.
Martin Leslie, coastal area commander, said: ‘The markings show an American flag. It looks like it’s an American rocket and seems most likely to be the unmanned Space X Falcon 9 which blew up shortly after take-off from Cape Canaveral in June.
‘We’re grateful for all those who helped in its recovery – it was a great example of the community working together.’
Practical Boat Owner: The Coastguard is appealing for information after yacht wreckage was found at Redcar Beach, on the north east coast of England, yesterday morning.
Investigations indicate the vessel was an Oday 22 sailing yacht and wreckage colours are blue, white and red with a section of the stern marked Hartlepool.
Hartlepool and Skinningrove Coastguard Rescue Teams conducted a search of the area after the wreckage was discovered.
The Coastguard would like to eliminate the possiblity that anyone is in difficulty and if you have information about this vessel please contact Humber Coastguard Operations Centre on 01262 672317 or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.