Suffolk yachtsmen forced to retire

A TEAM of Suffolk based yachtsmen have been forced to retire to port after gale force winds and huge seas have proved too much. Journalists Richard and Cathy Brown, who own the 40 foot Grand Soleil 'Brave' yacht and another six members of the Haven Ports Yacht Club were competing in the annual Rolex Fastnet yacht race when extreme weather forced them to retreat to port.

A TEAM of Suffolk based yachtsmen have been forced to retire to port after gale force winds and huge seas have proved too much.

Richard and Cathy Brown, who own the 40 foot Grand Soleil 'Brave' yacht and another six members of the Haven Ports Yacht Club in Levington were competing in the annual Rolex Fastnet race when extreme weather forced them to retreat to port.

Mr Brown, of Ipswich, said his crew were 20 miles south of Plymouth when they decided to end their race due to the windy weather and heavy rain.

He said: “We thought 'are we enjoying this?'. 'No', we decided we were not so we thought better safe than sorry.”

Mr Brown, who is a sub-editor on The Evening Star, said one of the competitors had fallen off their boat and two of the boats returning to port had lost their masts in the gales during the race.

A spokeswoman said more than 170 of the 271 yachts which started the race yesterday have now called it a day.

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The bi-annual 608-mile race from the Isle of Wight to the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland and back to Plymouth was delayed for a day on Sunday because of a forecast for 50 knot winds in the channel.

It finally got under way yesterday from Cowes but a night and a day of 38 knot winds and short, steep seas close inshore have taken their toll on the fleet.

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