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Search called off for British yacht lost in Atlantic storms

By Alex Diaz

A search for four Britons feared dead after the yacht they were sailing capsized in the mid-Atlantic Ocean has been called off.

The crew of the Cheeki Rafiki, a 40ft Beneteau performance racer/cruiser yacht, ran into difficulties some 1,000km (620 miles) east of Cape Cod in Massachusetts on Thursday while returning from the prestigious Antigua Sailing Week regatta.

Contact with Andrew Bridge (21), James Male (23), Steve Warren (52) and Paul Goslin (56) was lost early on Friday while they were diverting to The Azores.

US and Canadian aircraft and merchant vessels looked for them throughout Friday and Saturday but have now called off the search.

The men were sailing the Cheeki Rafiki back from Antigua for Southampton-based company Stormforce Coaching when they went missing.

The search was called off at 5am local time. A US Coastguard spokesman said: "We searched with multiple assets over 4,000 sq m for pings from the vessel's personal locator beacons.

"After receiving no more transmissions we believe that we would have found them by now if we were going to find them."

One commercial vessel taking part in the search, the 1,000ft container Maersk Kure ship, discovered debris thought to be the overturned hull of the Cheeki Rafiki but but did not stop to inspect it as nobody was seen on board.

Weather conditions where the men went missing were described as treacherous, with winds above 50 knots, waves up to 20 feet and visibility reduced to under a mile.

Belfast Telegraph


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