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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 May, 2003, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Rescued sailor 'risk to himself'
ivan rusch
Ivan Rusch: Crewpersons wanted
A lone 78-year-old yachtsman has arrived at Plymouth after being rescued by emergency services for the fifth time in two weeks.

American sailor Ivan Rusch was branded a maritime risk by Brixham Coastguards, who co-ordinated the latest incident involving his 35-feet sloop Ornaerie off the south Devon coast.

The yachtsman's vessel has already required assistance from coastguards at Eastbourne, Portsmouth, Poole, Brixham and now, just down the coast at Salcombe.

Mr Rusch made it from Salcombe to Plymouth without mishap with the help of local sailor Martin Cox, who volunteered to crew for him.

Coastguards' concerns

Now Mr Rusch, who set off from California two years ago, is looking for a permanent shipmate to help him take his 35-foot wooden boat down to the Mediterranean.

It was Mr Cox who went to Mr Rusch's rescue when he overheard the coastguards talking by radio to the lone yachtsman.

Mr Rusch's boat was making no headway in the tidal race off Start Point.

Mr Rusch said: "He jumped on board and we got the mainsail up and got enough power to get round the point.

I don't think I am a menace - but I get the impression that the British coastguards want me off their patch
Ivan Rusch
"Otherwise, I would have had to go back to Dartmouth."

Brixham Coastguards watch officer Robert Fielder said: "We are very concerned about the ongoing incidents this yachtsman is involved with.

"Not only is he at risk to himself, but to others as well."

The coastguards said they had given Mr Rusch advice on tidal information and recommendations about planning his passage.

But Mr Fielder said: "It is clear that he is incapable of planning his passage with regard to weather, tides and coastal navigation and conditions."

Retired builder Mr Rusch, said he intended to stay at Queen Anne's Battery in Plymouth for at least two weeks, while he looked for a crew.

He said he had been sailing for 15 years and had never taken a navigation course.

Sometimes has problems

Instead he relied on his Global Positioning System, radar and autohelm.

He said: "I am not as strong or as quick as I used to be and sometimes I have problems, especially with the terrible weather we have had this month in the English Channel."

"I don't think I am a menace, but I get the impression that the British coastguards want me off their patch.

"Most of the time I have been all right, although I have been grateful for their help."


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