Missing 27ft sloop may have been run-down

Coastguards are working on the theory that the missing Sailfish 27, Ouzo, and her three crew which set out from Bembridge, Isle of Wight bound for Dartmouth on Sunday evening, was involved in collision with a ship.

Solent Coastguard Watch Assistant Ken Pearson, said: ‘We think it might be a “run-down” that’s the way it’s pointing, but no wreckage has been found.’ The body of a yachtsman wearing an inflated lifejacket was found 10 miles south of the Nab Tower and has been identified as being one of the blue-hulled yacht’s crew.

One theory Coastguards are working on is that the dead yachtsman was on watch while his two companions were asleep below. The yacht had VHF/DSC, flares and was ‘well found’ and had been kept at AA Coombes Boatyard at Bembridge for the last 20 years. Her crew were ‘all competant seamen’ according to boatyard proprietor Bill Mitchell.

Two helicopters, two lifeboats, a police launch, an RAF Nimrod plane have been making a sea search of the area. Two Royal Navy minesweepers have been using sonar to try and find a new wreck on the sea-bed. Coastguards have made a ‘nook and cranny’ search of the Isle of Wight from the Needles to Bembridge. Coastguards as far away as Dover have alerted shipping to watch out for wreckage, flotsam or jetsam ,but so far nothing has been found.