Normandy Channel Race sailors attempt to enter Army training area

‘Broadcast action’
was taken when around 20 yachts racing from France to Ireland started to enter
a firing range danger area off the south Dorset coast.

The sailors,
participating in the Normandy Channel Race, were alerted to the danger at
around 3.22pm yesterday as they attempted to pass through the Lulworth Ranges firing area.

A Portland
Coastguard spokesman said: ‘Broadcast action was taken as some 20 French yachts
who were racing from France to Ireland and back started to go straight through
the danger area of Lulworth Firing Range whilst it was live.’

The spokesman
said the yachts were competing in the Normandy Channel Race, which began on Sunday, 14 April.

The first yachts are expected to return to France this Friday
19 April evening, with sailors continuing to cross the finishing line into Saturday morning.

The Lulworth Ranges are used by Army units for gunnery training, which involves
shooting on the ranges.

During firing
periods mariners are advised for their own safety to avoid the sea danger
areas, which extend some six nautical miles south of Lulworth Cove, and to keep
at least one mile clear of the target buoys on St Albans ledge.

Red flags are
flown, and red flashing lights are displayed from the flag-staffs on Bindon
Hill, Kimmeridge Bay and St Albans Head only when firing is taking place.

Further ashore, mariners
may notice some red flags which fly whether or not firing is taking place,
these mark the range boundary.

Firing times are
broadcast on Radio Solent (300m, 221m, 96.1 MHz and 103.8 MHz) during the
shipping and weather news at about 0645 and 0745 hours on weekdays.

Visit the Normandy Channel Race website.

(Yacht racing picture: Jean-Marie Liot/NCR)

(Map of Normandy Channel Race route)