Fears grow for missing Transatlantic sailor in his 60s as his yacht is found drifting with nobody on board

Duncan Lougee, from Essex, went missing after setting sail from Plymouth at midday on 18 June

Martha McHardy
Sunday 02 July 2023 20:26 BST
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<p>Duncan Lougee</p>

Duncan Lougee

Fears are growing for a missing Transatlantic sailor in his 60s after his yacht was found drifting with nobody on board.

Duncan Lougee, from Essex, went missing after setting sail from Plymouth at midday on 18 June.

Mr Lougee was due to arrive in Baltimore, Ireland, on 22 June, but there had been no contact since his departure, prompting a search to be launched.

Duncan Lougee is from Essex

The search was called off after the sailor’s yacht was found off the coast of Cornwall on Thursday. Mr Lougee was not on board, the UK Marine and Coastguard Agency said.

His boat was found 70 miles (113km) north west off Trevose Head.

Mr Lougee, who lived in Dedham near Colchester, was taking part in the single-handed sailing challenge. He has previously completed the same trip successfully and was planning to sail the route via the Isles of Scilly.

He was described as an “experienced yacht broker, boat builder and sailor”.

The missing Essex resident had undertaken many miles of sailing, including single-handedly crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

The UK Marine & Coastguard Agency said: “The search for the yacht Minke and its skipper, who was taking part in the single-handed Jester Challenge, from Plymouth to Baltimore, Ireland, has been stood down.

“The yacht was found on 29 June approximately 70 miles north-west off Trevose Head, Cornwall; sadly the skipper was not on the vessel.

It is unclear in what condition the missing vessel was found in.

Duncan Lougee was decribed as an ‘experienced sailor’

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police confirmed Mr Lougee “remains missing”.

They added: “The Minke is due to be brought to shore and Coastguard will continue searches in the area.”

Mr Lougee’s next of kin has been informed of the latest developments, Devon and Cornwall police said.

The sailor was last seen around Falmouth Bay near the Helford River at around 2pm on Monday, June 19.

A Facebook post described Mr Lougee’s family as “frantic”. It said: “On behalf of the family, please look out for Duncan Lougee who has been missing at sea off the south coast since 18 June.

“Any information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is desperately needed.

“As you can imagine, his family are frantic.”

Mr Lougee was a director for yacht broker firm Clarke and Carter. A spokesperson for the company said they are “deeply concerned” for Mr Lougee’s wellbeing.

“On behalf of the entire yachting community here in Suffolk, we would like to express our huge gratitude to the authorities for their ongoing search,” the statement said.

“Our priority at this time is supporting Duncan’s family.”

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