Self-build yacht loses mast

At around 1600 on 1 September, a fishing vessel, 25 miles North East of Great Yarmouth, reported hearing a very weak urgency message on VHF radio from a yacht thought to be called Bessie. This was passed on to Yarmouth Coastguard.

The crew of the yacht said they had an injured crewman; however the position of the yacht was unclear. Enquiries and urgency broadcasts were then made by Yarmouth Coastguard to try and establish the yachts whereabouts.

A short time later the dive support vessel Vos Sympathy managed to establish radio contact with Bessie and went to her position to assist. The crew of the Vos Sympathy took on board the 76-year-old owner of the Bessie who was suffering from a head injury and other ongoing medical problems and took him to Great Yarmouth for medical treatment at the James Paget Hospital. His condition is reported to be stable and fair.

The remaining two men, also in their 70s, were left to motor the yacht, reported as dismasted, to Great Yarmouth.

Communications were again lost with the yacht, and the Gorleston Lifeboat was launched to locate the unlit yacht. Bessie was eventually relocated, and she has been taken in tow bound for Great Yarmouth.

Mario Siano, Watch Manager at Great Yarmouth Coastguard said:

‘The owner of the vessel, from Doncaster, has been building the 10 metre yacht from steel, since 1999. He told us they were making for Calais and did not know how they got so far off course – The other two men are also in their mid 70s and their families were unaware that they were intending such a trip.’