The solo Bulgarian sailor was 'exceedingly cold, wet and being violently ill' but initially refused rescue assistance

A Bulgarian man found suffering from severe seasickness in a 14ft dinghy off the Dorset coast told rescuers he was trying to reach America.

The solo sailor was spotted three miles off Hengistbury Head on Saturday evening (16 August).

​A passing yacht called the Coastguard to alert them

to the dinghy which they were concerned about.

A crew from

Mudeford RNLI launched at 4.17pm. On arrival at the scene a crew member, who is a sailing instructor,

transferred to the dinghy to ascertain where the man, who was of

Bulgarian descent, was going to and to assess the situation.

The man

was exceedingly cold, wet and being violently ill but was refusing any

assistance from the crew.  

He had bought the dinghy earlier in the day and had packed a bag of

food and a bag of clothing and was trying to sail over to America.


20-knot rough seas the dinghy, which had no safety equipment on board,

was taking on water.

The crew eventually managed to transfer the man to the lifeboat and

whilst trying to keep him warm he was taken to Mudeford Quay and the

awaiting Ambulance crew, Coastguard and Police.

The lifeboat crew then

went back out to sea to retrieve his boat where it was taken to the

local slipway.

Pictures credited to: RNLI