Police say investigation into the deaths of three yachtsmen may take months.

The investigation into the deaths of three yachtsmen whose bodies were recovered off the Isle of Wight may take months.

James Meaby, 36, died of a combination of drowning and hypothermia, and his friends Rupert Saunders, 36, and Jason Downer, 35, both drowned after becoming separated from their Sailfish 25 Ouzo on 20 August.

‘It’s going to be weeks – possibly months – before we have any answers,’ said Susan Rolling of Hampshire police. ‘We’re waiting for the MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) to give us a list of all the vessels that were in the area at the time.’

The men set sail from Bembridge, Isle of Wight, a week last Sunday for a regatta in Dartmouth. It’s thought they collided with a ship as no Mayday was heard and the wreckage has not been found.

Police inspected the hull of P&O ferry Pride of Bilbao on Tuesday evening when it docked at Portsmouth. They have also taken the ship’s voyage data recorder, which records communications on the bridge as well as the ship’s track, radar plots, speed, engine controls and other information.

Photograph courtesy of the Saunders family: Left to right:  Jason Downer, Jamie Saunders (not on board), Rupert Saunders and James Meaby.