Packet post boat sinks just 5 miles from home
4:00pm Friday 3rd August 2012 in News
A SAILOR undertaking a 500 mile epic voyage to France and back in a 118-year-old boat has been left devastated after she sank just five nautical miles from her final destination.
Wayne Booth had taken the 16ft gaff-rigged cutter ‘Shira’ from Falmouth to Audierne in France on a ‘smuggling tour’, taking a variety of goods and mail across to the continent, before returning with a similar haul.
Three weeks after setting off, Wayne and companion Jim Bertrand were just off the Lizard when disaster struck last Friday.
Now he is hoping the people of Penryn and Falmouth can step forward to help salvage the boat and her cargo of goods. He told the Packet: “We had got nearly all the way back from France after four days of sailing, and we had the wind at our nose and it was really slow sailing.
“We came past the Lizard in the evening and lost sight of our support vessel when she could not keep up with us in the strengthening winds.
“The sea was getting pretty rough and, as we were setting the jib, when Jim forgot to duck and was hit in the back of the head by the boom.
“I saw it hit him, and it gave him a real crack, and after checking him over, I called into the coastguard to say he should be checked over.”
Shortly before 3am, the Falmouth Coastguard launched both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats, who located the Shira by using flares.
A medical expert from the inshore Lifeboat went onboard the yacht to assess Jim's condition and administered oxygen. When the All Weather Lifeboat arrived on scene, he was transferred to the lifeboat and he was taken back to Falmouth suffering from concussion. The Inshore Lifeboat took the yacht in tow and headed back up towards the Manacle Buoy. Wayne said: “I was getting really tired pumping out the boat, and when the all-weather lifeboat returned, a crew member came on board the Shira, and I went onto the lifeboat.
“The crew told me to rest until we got back to Falmouth, but the next thing I knew they were waking me up to say she had gone under.”
The lifeboat managed to drag the stricken vessel to shallower waters, but she was eventually allowed to sink in 20m of water just off Porthkerris beach.
Wayne said: “It was unbelievable to have had such an amazing trip only to sink just five nautical miles from home.
“People have already been brilliant, we have had three divers offer their help, a company has offered us use of an airbag and I am really hoping we will be able to salvage the boat.
“As long as she wasn’t damaged when she hit the bottom it should be fine.
“If we get a rib to get the divers out there, it should be straightforward, in fact any offer of help will be greatly appreciated.
“It would be a fairy tale ending if the people of Penryn could help salvage the situation.”
Wayne said the goods from France on the boat would now be used to help fund the restoration of the Shira.
He said: “The smuggled goods will have become real treasure once they have been recovered from a sunken ship, so I will auction them off to help pay for any work that is needed.”
Anyone who can offer Wayne help in salvaging the boat should contact him either by calling 07970 299841, or by emailing him at email@example.com