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Yacht owner and captain on trial after dramatic sea rescue
TWO men went on trial in Southampton today after the crew of a yacht had to be dramatically rescued from a violent storm at sea.
A video of the daring rescue from Hampshire-based boat Liquid Vortex was shown to jurors at Southampton Crown Court.
Prosecutor Mary Gibbons said the yacht set sail from Shamrock Quay on the River Itchen on Monday January 2 when weather forecasts had warned that Force 10 storm conditions were due.
The crew was made up of captain Charles Sturrock and six people who had paid £225 each.
At 6.20am the following morning a Mayday message was transmitted from the boat after conditions became so fierce that one crew member, James Heap, from Winchester, was injured and five other members had succumbed to sea-sickness, the jury was told.
Members of the jury were shown the dramatic moments when lifeboat crews and helicopters from the RNLI arrived off the coast of Dungeness to rescue the stricken craft.
Jason Manning, director of owners Hot Liquid sailing Ltd, and Sturrock face a string of charges relating to safety breaches under the Merchant Shipping Act.
Manning, 36, of Pluto Road, Eastleigh, denies three charges relating to checking weather forecasts, standard operating procedures and failing to contact HM Coastguard.
Sturrock, 50, from Much Wenlock, Shropshire, denies four charges relating to planning of the voyage, complying with standard operating procedures, failing to identify and assess risks to the vessel and crew and to sailing at night without proper equipment.
The case has been brought by the Southampton-based Maritime and Coastguard Agency.