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Four British yachtsmen feared lost at sea - Yacht Cheeki Rafiki

by Sail-world.com on 19 May 2014
Cheeki Rafiki stormforce.biz
The Beneteau First 40.7 Cheeki Rafiki, with four British sailors onboard, set off its EPIRB on a delivery passage from Antigua to Europe, after earlier reporting she was taking on water. It is believed the yacht may have been sinking rapidly and the crew took to the life raft, Southampton charter firm Stormforce Coaching said.

US and Canadian aircraft looked for them on Friday and Saturday but have now called off the search. A short U.S. Coast Guard search ensued but was called off.

Here is a statement from Doug Innes, Principal and Director, Southhampton based charter firm Stormforce Coaching.

'The yacht Cheeki Rafiki, a Beneteau First 40.7 was on passage from the Caribbean to the UK with a crew of four yachtsmen. On Thursday she started taking on water.

'We were in contact with the skipper and at the time the yacht and crew were keeping the situation stable. They had not been able to ascertain where the water ingress was from and were diverting to the Azores.

'Unfortunately we lost contact during the early hours of Friday morning and we believe the crew abandoned to the life raft. Search and rescue authorities were mobilised and a mixture of Canadian and US aircraft along with merchant vessels searched throughout Friday and Saturday.

'Although the search efforts co-ordinated by Boston were exceptional we are devastated that the search has been called off so soon after the abandonment to a life-raft.

'Our thoughts are with the four yachtsmen and their families and we hope and pray for them all.'

Multiple crews from numerous nation's military branches and commercial vessels searched approximately 4,146 square miles for them.

At approximately 12 p.m. Saturday, the crew from the 1,000-foot motor vessel Maersk Kure located an overturned hull that matched the description of the Cheeki Rafiki, but no sign of the sailors.

The crew members have been named as skipper Andrew Bridge, 21, Paul Goslin, 56, James Male, 23 and Steve Warren, 52.

Mr Goslin is from West Camel, Somerset, while Mr Warren is from Bridgwater, also from Somerset. Mr Male is from Southampton and Mr Bridge is from Farnham, Surrey.



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