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Cool 'missing' skipper found with jury-rigged sail

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 13 Jun 2012
’Missing’ catamaran - now safe in the Scillies, complete with its broken mast, thanks to a cool solo sailor .. .
Staying cool when times are tough is the sign of a good sailor. The story is out about a catamaran which was 'missing' for more than a week in the Atlantic Ocean. The yacht went missing on 2nd June, when on a journey from Antigua in the Caribbean to Falmouth in the UK and had been out of radio contact.

However, the skipper of the 'missing' catamaran Orinoco Flo, Andrew Gill, had coolly waited for the weather to calm down after his vessel lost its mast and communications equipment in rough weather, and then jury-rigged a sail to get him to his destination.

A rescue helicopter spotted Orinoco Flo about 60nm off the Scilly islands of Corneall earlier this week, making its way to shore. The islands' St Mary's lifeboat was dispatched to meet it and they towed the catamaran into port overnight.

The single-handed skipper had lost his mast in bad weather about 450nm out in the Atlantic. He waited two days for the sea conditions to calm down before beginning the task of retrieving the heavy mast. He then jury-rigged a mast and sail and used his motor to make his way towards the coastline of Britain.

The rescue was coordinated by Falmouth Coastguard and the vessel was spotted by a helicopter from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.

Phil Mathias, from the coastguard, said: 'The sailor was on board but he wasn't making any progress. There was very little wind. One of his engines had broken down.

'He still had a fair old way to go, so he decided to accept the help of St Mary's lifeboat.'

The yacht is being refuelled on Scilly before Mr Gill plans to motor on to Falmouth.
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