Yachtsman rescued from 'whale pounding'

A sailor trying to qualify for the OSTAR single-handed transatlantic race which starts from Plymouth on 29 May was towed into harbour by the Salcombe lifeboat after alerting them to a ‘whale attack’.

Richard Hatton, 43, had sailed solo in Chimp, his Beret 31, from Brixham across to Guernsey, then returned to Start Point non-stop en route back to Brixham and was ‘very, very tired’. After being bumped and nudged by ‘hundreds of whales’ he used his mobile to call the coastguard. He was uncertain of his position and had lost power to his navigation systems. The Coastguard told him to fire off a flare so the lifeboat could find him and they were alongside in just 30 minutes.

Neither the lifeboatmen or the helicopter crew could see any whales. A lifeboatman said :’ We have never known of a pod of whales being seen in Start Bay before.’