Jesters' honour defended

The Coastguard has been attacked by veteran ocean sailor Ewen Southby-Tailyour for making ‘uneducated, nannying comments’ about a solo sailor competing in the Jester Azores Challenge Race.

Peter Evans sailing Federwolke, a 22ft Westerly Cirrus, was rescued by RNAS helicopter from Culdrose when his boat was becoming overwhelmed in Force 9 winds. Federwolke was abandoned.

After the rescue Terry Collins, Watch Manager, at Falmouth Coastguard said:
‘The single handed sailor, who had sailed from his home in Jersey to Plymouth before setting off to join the sailing challenge to the Azores, set off his Personal Locator Beacon as his yacht was being overcome by the incredibly rough seas. The conditions on scene were not suitable for a small craft such as this and we do advise anyone setting out on the water take heed of weather forecasts and do not make journeys in conditions unsuitable for their vessel.’

Mr Southby-Tailyour, said: ‘Contrary to the coastguard’s statement he sailed in fine weather with a fair forecast and when bad weather hit him he did everything right. Contrary to the report he had sailed as far as 120 west of Ushant after six days of near calm conditions or light head winds but when Force 9 was forecast (and, sensibly, before it hit him) he was running back for shelter towards the Channel Islands or St Malo.  

‘Size is not necessarily a factor in seaworthiness in gale force winds as many larger, fully-crewed-vessel disasters prove. Much as I respect the Coastguard service it does not help when they make uneducated, nannying comments without checking the truth. Sailing deliberately into a Force 10 is one thing but being caught out well offshore after many days at sea is another and thus should not be hinted at as being irresponsible.’

An earlier report by YM described John Margarson’s retirement from the race as ‘struggling’ in his boat Muffin, a Parker 30. Mr Southby-Tailyour said:’He wasn’t and motored in in a seamanlike manner.
‘I will defend my Jesters and what they do and how they do it to the end unless they seriously do not deserve it, but that has yet to be the case.’

Photo: Westerly Owners’ Association