Three people rescued

Three people have been rescued from a British yacht that has sunk off Sri Lanka in Force 11 winds.

Skipper Keith Harding, 68, originally contacted Falmouth Coastguard to receive medical advice after he injured his arm.

But the situation worsened and within an hour Baccus, a Sun Odyssey 45.2, had begun to sink and had lost steerage.

Mr Harding from Kent and his crew, Colin Clarke from Cambridge and Sieste Hoff from Belgium, were rescued by the merchant vessel, Maersk Surabaya, which was en route to Malaysia, after Falmouth Coastguard informed its colleagues in Mumbai and Colombo. Baccus was abandoned.

Falmouth watch manager, Marc Thomas, said satellite broadcasts and EPIRB alerts meant rescuers were able to get assistance to the yacht quickly.

He said: ‘Utilising the good relationships we have with both the Sri Lankan and Indian coastguard, it was possible to rescue all three of the crew of the Baccus.’

Mr Harding began the Blue Water Rally in 2007 with his wife Susan, 63, (pictured above together in Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia) but both of them had to return to the UK at various stages because of illness.

Mr Harding was successfully treated for pancreatic cancer in 2008/9, but Mrs Harding was diagnosed with breast cancer early last year

She had to remain in the UK to receive treatment, but Mr Harding wanted to complete the circumnavigation. He did not continue his trip with the Blue Water Rally.

With the loss of the yacht, that dream is over and their son, James Harding, described the loss of the yacht as ‘like losing a member of the family’.

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