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Sailors acquitted of four of seven charges in court
Judge Peter Ralls ordered a jury to return a not guilty verdict for four charges against the owner of Hot Liquid Sailing, Jason Manning, and skipper of the Liquid Vortex, Charles Sturrock, which is owned by Manning.
The pair had been charged with breaches of safety under the Merchant Shipping Act after novice sailors onboard the Liquid Vortex had to be rescued in the middle of force 10 storms in January this year.
They set sail from Shamrock Quay on the River Itchen in Southampton and were en route to London for the annual January boat show.
After hearing evidence from the prosecution for more than a week, Judge Ralls considered there was insufficient evidence for Manning, 36, of Pluto Road Eastleigh, to be tried further on two charges relating to standard operating procedures and failing to contact HM Coastguard.
Judge Ralls also asked the jury to do the same for Sturrock, 50, of Much Wenlock, Shropshire, who was found not guilty for safety breaches regarding standard operating procedures and sailing at night without proper equipment.
Both Sturrock and Manning deny the three remaining charges which relate to checking weather forecasts, planning of the voyage and failing to identify and assess risks to the vessel and crew.
The trial continues on three remaining charges.