With hope fading for locating the sailor missing now for two days off the coast of Busselton in Western Australia, the family of 76-year-old Ian Shardlow have thanked the rescue workers for the efforts to find him. When he was reported overdue on Thursday a search was initiated at 6.30pm and his catamaran found with the motor running and no sails hoisted.
Ian Shardlow’s catamaran
Police have conceded that hopes of finding him alive after such a long time are fading. The yacht has been towed back to port for forensic testing and it has been confirmed that the sailor was not wearing a life jacket.
Mr Shardlow, from Australind, has not been seen since he set sail from Port Geographe marina aboard his 6m catamaran 'Two Up' about 12.20pm on Thursday.
Ian Shardlow - hopes now faded for finding him alive
Authorities were alerted when Mr Shardlow failed to make contact with the Australian Coast Radio Monitors service at 4pm, as he had planned when he set sail earlier that day.
Four hours later emergency services launched a massive land, air and sea search when his yacht was found 4.7 nautical miles off Port Geographe travelling at 5 knots.
Today, Mr Shardlow's family paid tribute to the loved husband, father and grandfather, saying the tragedy had been devastating.
``Ian was passionate about sailing catamarans and had been sailing for over 45 years,' they told Perth Now in a statement. ``He was a very competent sailor and had owned several catamarans in his time.
``Sadly, Ian was just about to retire and had hoped to sail and travel a lot more.'
The family thanked the emergency service volunteers, Water Police and State Emergency Service for their untiring efforts in the search.
Inspector Mike Peters said nine boats, a fixed wing plane and one helicopter had returned to the search effort at first light this morning, but the contingent was scaled back to six boats and two aircraft later in the day.
``The search conditions to locate Mr Shardlow have been optimal,' Insp Peters said.
Police helicopter joins in the search for missing sailor
Anyone who may have sighted Mr Shardlow on Thursday afternoon or his catamaran around the Port Geographe marina is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.