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'Save me save my dog'- but rescued yachtsman calls it a day

by Lee Mylchreest on 22 Apr 2011
I want to be rescued, but not without my dog .. .
Keen British sailor Mark (Huggy) Hughes was attempting to sail to Australia via the Caribbean with pet dog Sheila when the vessel lost its mast and the engine failed 30 miles south of the Canary Islands.

The 41-year-old made an SOS call over his radio transmitter before being picked up by Spain’s air-sea rescue service last Monday.

He said: 'They only sent down one rope but I refused to leave Sheila because she’s the love of my life. I put on my life jacket, jumped in the sea with the dog and we were both rescued from there.'

Mark, who had no injuries, was checked over and given the all clear while his yacht was towed back to shore to be repaired and sold on, even though the boat had taken him many years to prepare.

The intrepid sailor, who was a Navy engineer in Iraq during the Gulf War in 1990, ultimately hopes to get to Australia and in spite of his latest terrifying experience he remains undeterred.

Mark added: 'I’m adventurous by nature and I’m determined to get to Australia.'

He bought and refurbished the Jessica May, leaving Liverpool Docks three years ago to visit France, Italy, Greece and Gibraltor before settling in the Canary Islands and preparing for his venture to the other side of the world.

After his terrifying rescue from the ocean, however, his ocean-crossing plan by sailing boat seems to be on hold. 'I’m planning to fly over there after going home to England next week. Sailing is still my passion so I’ll buy another boat when I get to Australia.'

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