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Yacht in search for Cheeki Rafiki reports finding debris in Atlantic
Updated 8:37am Thursday 22nd May 2014 in News
Debris has reportedly been found in the Atlantic Ocean in the area where yacht the Cheeki Rafiki went missing.
The captain of a charter yacht taking part in the search said details of what was spotted were passed on to the US Coast Guard.
The 40ft Cheeki Rafiki was sailing back to the UK from an Antigua regatta when it got into trouble and started taking on water 620 miles east of Cape Cod last Thursday.
The four men - experienced captain Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey, and crew members James Male, 23, below, from Romsey, Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, Somerset, and Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset - have not been seen or heard from since the early hours of Friday morning.
The US Coast Guard called off the search for the men 48 hours later, but resumed after a petition signed by politicians, celebrities and leading sailors attracted 200,000 signatures.
Patrick Michel, skipper of the Malisi, volunteering in the search for the missing yacht, said: ``We are currently just in the north part of the search area, our third night out here, and we did see during this night a few little (pieces of) debris which I have reported to the US Coast Guard with the times and positions, so there is a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.''
Kay Coombes, the sister of Mr Warren, welcomed the reports that debris had been spotted.
She said: ``I think they've got a bit more of a clue now so hopefully the coastguard can plot that and get the ships to that area, so fingers crossed they can start searching there.''
She said the families of the missing sailors were still clinging on to hope, and thanked Mr Michel for taking the time to search and the coastguard for redoubling its efforts.
``They are still out there, there's more resources being put into it, so we're still hopeful at this point,'' she said.
She added: ``We have got to stay positive. We are still hopeful, we are clinging on to that. We are just keeping going. It is exhausting now, this has been going on for days. We are mentally exhausted, physically exhausted, I think we are running on coffee now rather than anything else, but we are still going, we are still there for him.''
Mrs Coombes said relatives of the missing sailors were meeting officials in London today.
"The Hub" where James Males' family and friends search for information
IT looks like something out of a military control centre.
A table crowded with laptops and telephones with three clocks spanning different international times zones adorning the walls.
Talk is of “moving satellites” to a remote corner of the Atlantic Ocean to beam high resolution photographs to their screens.
Last night the family of missing Hampshire sailor James Male spoke from their makeshift armed-forces style bunker in the dining room of their Romsey home.
Surrounded by trailing wires, computer tablets and smart phones dad Graham said he will do everything in his power to find his son and his three crew mates.
His words came as the RAF Hercules plane joining the hunt for James and his three crew members reached its search zone.
The temporary controlroom family have nicknamed ‘the hub’ has been the nerve centre of their
operations since the 23-year-old sailor’s 40-ft vessel the Cheeki Raffiki capsized off the coast of the USA six days ago.
It is essentially a 24/7 base for relatives’ global appeals for help and to kept abreast of the US
Coastguard’s dramatic search and rescue operation.
Around 15 family and friends have been assigned roles depending on their skills.
The younger generation are using email and social media sites such as Twitter to contact US authorities, sailors involved in the search and their supporters at home and abroad, including politicians and celebrities.
Last night they were negotiating with the creators of Tomnad – a site used in the search for Malaysian plane MH370.
It enables people across the globe to search satellite images focusing on the search zone and tag any objects which could potentially be the crew’s life raft.
James' parents Lorraine and Graham and sister Zoe
Older family members are perched next to the telephone and a radio while searching news websites for vital updates.
In the living room members take turns flicking through news channels and poring over newspaper reports including the Daily Echo.
They are sharing everything they gain with James’ three crewmate’s families and thanking those who help them as they go along.
Mr Male, 54, said: “We are calling it the hub, but it is something that has evolved over the past
“Everybody has fallen into respective roles depending on their strengths.
“It’s been very emotional but we have had to keep focused on it to do all we can in the search.
“The response we’ve had from social media has been really powerful and really opened our eyes.
“If James could see what we are doing he would be absolutely overwhelmed.”
He admits it is an exhausting job starting in the early hours of the morning and finishing
late at night but they spirits have been lifted by their international backing.
A picture of Ben Fogle is on the wall – one of scores of celebrities who has offered help – including Dame Ellen MacArthur and Hampshire sailor Ben Ainslie.
Local businesses have also supported them in their campaign including Graham’s employer Jet
Master fires in Eastleigh who sent pizzas to keep their sustenance up.
Meanwhile, T-shirts sporting the crews’ image donated by Caroline’s T-shirts in Portswood were due to arrive yesterday.
Members of the US Embassy also donated some fruit including ‘lucky apples’ which the family are saving for James’ return.
Graham said: “He’s a very resilient chap.
“The team onboard seemed to have gelled well together as a team. We are praying they can pull through and can return home.”
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