Dinghy sail England to Ireland ends in rescue

Dinghy man adjusts his sails - photo by SkyNews
.. .
Was he crazy? Trying to commit a bizarre suicide? Or just hopelessly in love with an Irish girl? An American 'sailor' has been rescued, somewhat unwillingly, after attempting the 300-mile journey from the south of England to Ireland in a 6ft inflatable dinghy.

The wind wasn't cooperating either. The 40-year-old was found drifting just a few miles from the Dorset coast in a vessel with a mast constructed of paddles and an ill-fitting sail made from a tarpaulin.

Discovered by a passing dive boat, his rescuers said he had no water and had given up on reaching Ireland - but that he did not seem worried.

He had initially insisted he did not need help but later agreed to get on board and was taken ashore, where he received treatment for severe sunburn.

Nigel Holder, skipper of the boat X-Dream, told Sky News he spotted the dinghy after hearing a coastguard alert prompted by sightings of the man.

'My first thoughts were: very bizarre,' he said.

'If you can imagine a small child's dinghy ... and a grown man sitting in it with oars - and he had a mast made up of paddles and a triangular sail made from a tarpaulin, blue woven stuff with eyelets in the corners.

'My first thought was that he certainly wasn't going to make it to Ireland that's for sure.

'He wasn't at all worried. He'd been in the sun all day since 10am and he didn't have any water with him.

'We gave him some water and he was grateful for it. He said he wasn't in any distress, he didn't need any help and he was just going to carry on rowing.'

He was found just eight miles from where he had set off from in Osmington Mills at 9am on Wednesday. He was taken ashore to Lulworth Cove, where he was met by emergency services at 8.30pm.

John Braisher, watch officer at Portland Coastguard, said: 'This man was extremely lucky to be found when he was.

'With no suitable communications equipment, limited life-saving equipment and inadequate food and drink resources for his passage to Ireland, the outcome could have been very different.'