Shipwrecked adventurer gives up at 73

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The Independent Online
THREE YACHTS, three years and three shipwrecks later, 73-year- old British sailor Eric Bennett has decided to call it a day after his latest attempt to sail solo round the world ended in disaster in the Pacific.

Mr Bennett, a retired physics lecturer from Bristol, had to be plucked from the ocean after his third attempt in as many years got as far as the Australian coastline of Queensland before sinking.

The pensioner was pulled to safety by helicopter after his 30ft sloop, Wiggy, ran aground on a reef on Monday. The yacht now lies submerged on Flinders Reef, near Moreton Island, which is around 50 km north east of Brisbane.

Mr Bennett had been sailing from Yamba in New South Wales to Moolooloobah when his ship was wrecked. It seems the latest sinking has prompted him to give up maritime life, according to local reports. Constable Julie Stone, of Brisbane Water Police, said the weather was fine and Mr Bennett's boat had sunk because of a "navigational error".

Mr Bennett's voyage had been dogged by bad luck since he left England 17 years ago to sail around the globe.

Three years ago Mr Bennett's yacht ran aground off Fiji, whereupon he began work on a supply ship to raise more funds. But the second ship's engine caught fire and sank off the Cook Islands, and he suffered a 36- hour ordeal in a lifeboat.