Singlehander fell overboard while anchored off Cornwall

A singlehanded yachtsman who fell overboard on Saturday is presumed to be dead. The man’s 30ft sloop Grey Seal was found at anchor with the engine running in Cornwall’s Polurrion Cove. He had only bought the boat a week before, and was sailing it to north Gloucestershire.

The alarm was raised at 0830 by a hotel night porter who was concerned by the position of the yacht. It was only 200 yards from the shore, and the tide had turned and the sea was building. After failing to raise the vessel by VHF, Penlee lifeboat went to investigate. They boarded the yacht and found the owner missing.

Falmouth Coastguard launched an extensive air and sea search involving two lifeboats and two helicopters, but this has now been suspended. ‘Sadly, it’s a case of search and recovery rather than search and rescue,’ coastguard officer Martin Leslie told PBO. ‘There was a very big sea running as we had the tail-end of a hurricane coming through. There are strong tides in the area and we don’t think the man was wearing a lifejacket. Obviously we’d like to get a conclusion and find the body before a member of the public does.’

The tug Anglian Princess will conducting a sweep of the area this afternoon.