Road map sailor runs aground off the A548

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The Independent Online

An amateur yachtsman who was using an AA map to cross the Irish Sea had to be rescued by coastguards for the 11th time yesterday - as he returned from a previous rescue.

An amateur yachtsman who was using an AA map to cross the Irish Sea had to be rescued by coastguards for the 11th time yesterday - as he returned from a previous rescue.

Eric Abbott, 56, ran his 25ft home-made boat aground in the Rhyl estuary, off the north Welsh coast, yesterday as he attempted to sail from Anglesey - where he had been rescued on Tuesday. The rescues have so far cost more than £55,000.

Mr Abbott, an unemployed painter from Northwich, Cheshire condemned by coastguard officials as "irresponsible" and "clueless", has now agreed to take lessons in navigation.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) yesterday volunteered to give Mr Abbott acourse in seamanship. John Challis, spokesman for the RYA, said the course is essential for anybody wanting to tackle conditions like those in the Irish Sea. "Hopefully [Mr Abbott] will be less trouble to the coastguards when he completes it. To attempt crossing the Irish sea without sufficient skills is reckless to say the least," he said.

Mr Abbott said it was "absolute rubbish" to suggest he was irresponsible. Asked whether he had a skipper's licence, he said: "I don't need one, I'm far more intelligent."

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