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Stuart Hill
"I left the beach without knowing there was a hole in the bottom of the boat"
 real 28k

Saturday, 21 July, 2001, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
'Captain Calamity' returns to sea
lifeboat
Cost of calling out lifeboat may outweigh cash raised
A hapless yachtsman dubbed "Captain Calamity" after a disastrous attempt to circumnavigate the British Isles is setting sail again.

Stuart Hill had to be rescued five times by lifeboats and twice by rescue helicopters, as he spent weeks drifting off the coast of East Anglia earlier this year.

After going to sea with a hole in the hull of his boat, which let in gallons of water, soaking his radio and cutting off communication with the shore, the 58-year-old, from Manningtree, Essex, finally abandoned his planned 2,000-mile trip.

But despite getting no further than Cromer, Norfolk, on his first attempt and being told by coastguards that his 15-foot dinghy was unfit, Mr Hill is starting again from Southwold, Suffolk.


The lifeboat and helicopter call-outs on the last leg were not at my instigation

Stuart Hill
He told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I feel it is worth doing.

"The lifeboat and helicopter call-outs on the last leg were not at my instigation.

"I didn't require them and didn't ask for them.

"They were from people onshore seeing what they thought was a windsurfer in trouble out at sea."

Mr Hill, who is hoping to raise money for charity through his exploits, said that his boat was "unsinkable" and had won a gold safety award from the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI).

But Great Yarmouth coastguard's Operations Manager, Rab Taylor, told Today: "Apart from the coastguard, people from the RNLI and the harbourmaster have seen the craft and we all agree it is not the right vessel to circumnavigate Great Britain.

"Launching the lifeboat, offshore and inshore, helicopters, Nimrod aircraft and using other vessels at sea all costs money and it could be counter-productive compared to what Mr Hill is going to raise for charities through this trip."

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See also:

07 Jul 01 | Scotland
Luckless sailor rescued three times
13 Apr 01 | Europe
Briton nears boat marathon's end
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