Runaway sailing boat caught by the Gafirs

Gafirs to the rescue - reuniting man and yacht
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Rescuers all over the world get some strange calls, but this week a runaway yacht with its autopilot set led rescuers a merry chase in the Solent. The lone sailor on the yacht, who was not tethered, was thrown overboard by the wash from a passing vessel, leaving his yacht still sailing.

The Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Gafirs), an independent search and rescue facility covering the Solent and Portsmouth Harbour and funded entirely by charitable donations, was called out in response to reports that a sole man was treading water about a mile off shore near Browndown in Gosport.

In the meantime, a good Samaritan passing dredger spotted the sailor in the water and plucked him to safety.

The Gafirs crew then picked him up and, after he told them the story, started to chase the runaway yacht. They finally found the yacht, which had happily sailed a mile on its own towards Cowes, the destination the solo sailor was heading for.

The yacht and the sailor were reunited, none the worse for wear, and were, at last word, still heading for Cowes.