Freya Terry was sailing towards Padstow in her SHE 31 when the boat's engine failed while fighting the tide; the yacht was then knocked down

Freya Terry set out on her solo circumnavigation around Britain and Ireland five days ago from Milford Haven’s Neyland Marina.

The sailing instructor is hoping to raise awareness of mental health issues during her voyage, and become the youngest and first woman to sail solo around the UK and Ireland.

But the challenge has been temporarily halted after she was rescued by the RNLI last night.

Her SHE 31, Pink Delta was knocked down and Freya suffered a minor head injury.

Writing on her Facebook page, She Sails, Freya explained that she had planned to arrive in Padstow Harbour by early evening, but a late start from Lundy meant she missed the tidal window and “spent a long time fighting tide”.

Freya Terry standing next to her SHE 31 boat with a pink hull

Freya Terry and her 1977 Sparkman and Stephens-designed SHE 31. Originally called Black Delta, she re-named it Pink Delta. Credit: Freya Terry/RYA

When she didn’t arrive as expected, the RYA SafeTrx app and the Padstow Harbour Master alerted Falmouth Coastguard and Freya’s family.

“At this point I had no engine, 25-30knots SE Wind and only enough power in my batteries for my nav lights. I was out of communications, but the Falmouth Coastguard began a search for me from my last known location. They didn’t find me and sent out the alert to vessels nearby. I wasn’t in danger but was having some difficulties getting to Padstow,” explained Freya Terry.

“Then at around 10pm I was down below deck working on my navigation (back to paper and pencil) when I was hit by either a large squall or large wave side on. I felt it coming and ran to reach the tiller, the boat was [k]nocked down and I was thrown across the boat. I hit my head and was generally a little bruised, I was sick when it happened then again 10 minutes later. I got the boat back on track and tried both my radios and mobile, I had no charge in anything. I was completely out of battery and out of communication.”

At this point, Freya activated her Personal Locator Beacon, which gave her location immediately to Falmouth Coaguard.

A rescue helicopter and the crew of the Padstow Lifeboat were then scrambled.

“The helicopter was first to locate me and the guided the lifeboat to my location. Two crew members boarded my boat and assessed me as not in immediate danger so a tow was set up to take Pink Delta back to Padstow. Once the boat was secured we returned to the lifeboat station where we were met by three paramedics who took me in the ambulance to the Royal Cornwall hospital in Truro in the early hours. Where I was assessed, kept for short observation and later discharged.”

A boat with a pink hull sailing

Freya Terry is planning to sail 2,400nm during her sail around Britain and Ireland and visit 80 places along the way, hosting talks and discussions to try and reduce the stigma around mental health. Credit: RYA

Freya Terry thanked everyone who had helped in the search and rescue last night.

“I am okay, and glad to know that even when I was experiencing problems with communication, the system I’d put in place worked. I am so grateful to the Padstow harbour master, Padstow Lifeboat Station, Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team, my family and friends and everyone else involved in the search,” she wrote.

Freya Terry now plans to take a break in Padstow “to recover physically and mentally, and get my engine and everything else fixed onboard.”

Reflecting on the incident, the 21-year-old said she was “confident that at the time I did everything that I could to keep myself as safe as possible but there are always lessons to be learned.”

Freya Terry learnt to sail aged 12 at Fishguard Bay Yacht Club after trying the sport with school.

She went on to complete with Welsh squads before qualifying as a dinghy, keelboat, multihull, powerboat and jetski instructor; she works at Pembrokeshire Performance Sailing Academy.

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She was recently awarded an RYA Cymru Wales Impact Award for her work at the academy.

Freya Terry has spoken publicly about her struggles with mental health, which began when she was 11 years old.

” It has put me and my family through some incredibly difficult times; there were times when I truly didn’t think I’d survive, and times when I didn’t want to. But though I still struggle at times, I’m still here and fighting, and that is something to be celebrated. I want to use this experience and my sailing background to help others,” she said.

Freya Terry has set up a Go Fund Me page to cover the cost of her circumnavigation. It can be found here.

“If you do have the resources to spare a few pennies, I would really appreciate anything to help get my engine fix and new batteries installed,” she added.

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