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Yacht skipper's fury after RNLI called, court told
7:32pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in News
THE skipper of a Southampton yacht battling fierce winds was “absolutely furious” when he heard a lifeboat had been dispatched to help it, a court heard.
Novice sailors who had paid to sail on Liquid Vortex told a jury at Southampton Crown Court what happened when they had to be rescued by the RNLI and RAF off the coast of Kent.
The boat, owned by Hampshire firm Hot Liquid Sailing Limited, had set off from Shamrock Quay in Southampton on January 2 on a voyage bound for London, despite warnings of Force 10 weather conditions, the court heard.
Lifeboats from the RNLI and helicopters from the RAF were dispatched 6.20am the following day to rescue the seven sailors, despite skipper Charles Sturrock saying that “a lifeboat wasn't needed”.
Crew member Veronica Bower-Seek said: “The coastguard asked me to inform the skipper that they were launching Dungeness [lifeboat] to stand by us.
“Although we hadn't sent out a Mayday message, they clearly had enough concern with sea conditions to launch the boat.
“When I told the skipper he was absolutely furious.”
It was only when a wave crashed onto the boat, injuring crew member Jason Heap, that a Mayday message was sent out.
Company director Jason Manning, 36, of Pluto Road, Eastleigh, and Sturrock, 50, from Much Wenlock, Shropshire, both deny a string of charges relating to safety breaches under the Merchant Shipping Act.