The search for a yachtsman who fell overboard during the British Steel round the world yacht race was called off yesterday, more than 18 hours after he fell into the water.
William Vincent, 47, from Bath, was lost in warm weather and relatively calm seas in the South Atlantic during the 6,800-mile final leg, from Cape Town to Southampton. It appears that he was not wearing a life jacket or a safety line.
He was one of 13 crew of the 67ft Heath Insured who paid pounds 15,000 to take part in the race. Adrian Donovan, 34, her professional skipper, said an electronic marker buoy was lowered within 30 seconds of Mr Vincent falling from the stern two hours before sunset on Thursday, 450 miles off Ivory Coast. But the crew, despite using binoculars and a spotlight, were unable to find him.
Mr Vincent, married with two teenage sons, gave up his job as a carpenter to sail around the world. His wife, Pauline, said: 'It was what he wanted to do and he knew the risks. We are devastated and love him dearly.'
The Heath Insured, sponsored by the London insurance brokers CE Heath, is lying fourth in the race.