A Falmouth Classics race had to be abandoned last week after sudden squall capsized five working boats with one of them sinking.

The 140-year-old Victory, formerly owned by legendary lifeboat coxswain Toby West but now owned by David Carne, was caught in the strong winds in the race on Friday.

A report from the Classics race organisers said a 1934 Harrison Butler reported a broken mast and this event was followed by a squall with 40 knot plus winds, heavy rain and poor visibility.

Seawide Services LtdSeawide Services Ltd (Image: Seawide Services Ltd)

Victory the 1884 Falmouth Working boat was caught by the strong winds with sails cleated whilst tacking and heeled filing with water, while four other boats capsized but were righted.

Three open boats were also in difficulties and the Race Officer issued an “Abandoned Race” notice.

Meanwhile the four safety boats, provided by local clubs, were very busy recovering crews and boats.

They were soon assisted by the Coastguard helicopter, the RNLI and harbour vessels. No one was injured but some vessels experienced damage to their spars. Victory was re-floated on Saturday. She had come second in her class in the morning race.

The Victory is raisedThe Victory is raised (Image: Seawide Services Ltd)

Paul Hobson, Chairman of the Falmouth Classics Association said "The response from the classics safety team, H.M. Coastguard, the harbour staff and RNLI in difficult conditions on the water was excellent.

"Situations like this, whilst rare, can happen very quickly and the team's response was to their credit."

Brendan Rowe, owner of Falmouth based salvage company Seawide Services Ltd, was contracted to lift the Victory which was in 25 feet of water.

He said it involved a five man diving team going down and getting supports under the keel and then lifting the boat up with a specialised boat crane.

He said the operation had to be meticulously planned and had taken 12 hours to complete but in the end the boat was bought to the surface safely with minimal damage to the vessel.

“It was just superficial damage,” he said. “The owner took it away and it’s now in a boatyard,” he said.