RNLI called to professionals as humble cruising man sails on


As lifeboats from Salcombe and Torquay assisted yachts and yachtsmen competing in the Fastnet Race, a smaller cruising yacht crossed the Channel with little fuss. But first the dramas:

A crew member who had broken a leg aboard Puma Logic, a Reflex 38 was hospitalised after the boat was assisted into Salcombe. Another yacht Jambalya, an 11m racer, was dismasted and towed into Salcombe. Another dismasted 15 m boat with a Russian crew were escortted into Brixham. Other Fastnet yachts are sheltering in Falmouth, Plymouth and Weymouth.

Meanwhile Max Liebersen, 50, his wife Rachel and seven-year-old daughter Marianne, in their 28ft Trapper 500, Sarah,were crossing from Treguier, North Brittany to Plymouth. Half way across the strong winds from the south hit them and in driving rain the visibility went down to nothing. Then, as night fell, Max found himself in among the charging fleet of Fastnet racers heading west.

‘I was running under bare poles at one stage,’ said Max, from the Thurrock Yacht Club in Essex, ‘and there was one yacht bearing down on us which I had difficulty getting out of the way of. I had to change course to port which I swore I would never do, but I put my stern towards him and he at last saw me and changed course which was a relief.’

Max and crew are now riding out the bad weather in Plymouth awaiting the winds to ease before heading back up Channel.

Well done Max, Rachel and Marianne. You make me ashamed of my weedy-hulled bigger boat still swinging round her mooring!