Young girl motors Achilles 24 to find help as father collapses

An 11 year old girl safely brought her family boat safely home after her father collapsed from gallstone pancreatitis while at anchor in Chichester Harbour.

Unity Bowns, 11, has been nominated for the
RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year Award for ‘Courage and Fortitude
in an Emergency’.

Unity and her father, Matthew, were at anchor aboard their
Achilles 24, dried out in Mill Rythe, Hayling Island, and had been planning to do some
spinnaker practice off the Nab Tower.

As the tide rose, they climbed back on
board when Matthew became aware of a pain in his chest – which
he recognized as probably gallstone-related. The pain increased (later
being diagnosed as as gallstone pancreatitis), and he got worse and became incapacitated.

Unity took over, and decided to return to Emsworth as
fast as possible. As soon as the anchor was up, she brought the boat to Emsworth under engine.

Unity brought the boat to the Emsworth town pontoon, avoiding other traffic
as she had been taught but had never had to do alone, and phoned her
mother.  ‘He’s still breathing – I can hear him groaning,’ her mother heard her say.

spent the next couple of weeks in hospital recovering, returning later
for an operation.

 More on this story: Emsworth Sailing Club