Sailor's lore goes that to cross the Atlantic, the savvy sailor will leave Europe for the Canaries no later than September before the savage winter gales set in. The wisdom of this was proved again this week as a British cruising sailor tragically perished in a journey between Lisbon and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
Maritime Rescue in the Canary Islands has reported that the yacht sank after encountering strong winds of about 45 knots and and seven metre seas off the coast of Morocco.
After hearing the mayday from the twelve-metre yacht Snooker, the Norwegian merchant ship Tordis Knutsen diverted to their position to effect a rescue. They managed to rescue one crewman quickly, but while the other crewman was brought aboard the merchant ship, he was unable to be resuscitated.
After the Tordis Knutsen arrived in Gran Canaria the sailor who lost his life was identified as British sailor Jonathan Farrar, 64, of Norfolk. The sailor who was rescued was fellow British citizen Timothy Hall, 43. Relatives have been notified.
Strong winds and stormy seas have battered even as far south as the Canary Islands recently. The two sailors had radioed for help early on Monday, and at that time were still 350 miles north of the Canary Islands.
John Einar Dalsvag, spokesman for Knutsen Oas Shipping which owns Tordis Knutsen, told reporters that the tanker raced at full speed to the stricken yacht after receiving the distress call at 7.35am. They reached Snooker at 9.15am and saved Mr Hall within half an hour.
They battled to rescue Mr Farrar, eventually pulling his body from the water at 12.05pm. They tried without success to resuscitate him.
Mr Dalsvag said: 'Due to the bad weather situation we were not able to use our rescue boat. 'The officer of Tordis Knutsen that tried to rescue him broke his thumb and had to be taken to the on-board hospital.
'They tried to get the person on board but due to extensive fatigue he was so weak he was not able to hold himself to the pilot ladder.'
He was already dead when he was finally pulled aboard two hours after jumping into the sea from his sinking vessel.
The reason for the vessel's sinking is not known.