High and dry: Boat ends up grounded on rocks during yacht race
By Peter Allen
Last updated at 1:13 AM on 08th July 2009
As he began his daring overtaking manoeuvre, Arthur Manning wondered if he was sailing a little close to the wind.
In fact, he was too close to the rocks. His yacht, the Jersey-registered Knight Star, ended up grounded and then wobbling in mid-air on its 6ft keel as the tide went out near Saint-Quay-Portrieux, north-west France.
Mr Manning, who was trying to speed ahead of 19 rivals in a Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club race, described it as 'an embarrassing misjudgment'.
Battered pride: The Knight Star sailed too close to rocks and became grounded
He and his crew abandoned ship and the French sea salvage service refloated the Knight Star at high tide. The yacht escaped mostly intact - unlike Mr Manning's pride.
It happened at 8am today, soon after Mr Manning and fellow crew member Peter Williams left Binic, in north west France, on the last day of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club’s 14th Waller Harris two-handed triangle race.
As their 36ft Sadler Starlight 35 passed the rocky outlet of La Longue, opposite the port of Saint-Quay-Portrieux, disaster struck as they sailed too close to rocks and became grounded.
The boat ended up perched on its side after the tide went out.
Well and truly wedged: The boat ended up perched on rocks, but was not badly damaged
‘Half the fleet had cleared the rocks, but we clearly got too close to them,’ said Mr Manning, who had previously never made a serious mistake in a highly successful racing career stretching back 40 years.
‘We’d consulted local charts, but didn’t take into account the height of the rocks, or whether there was enough water.
‘The boat ground to a halt, and we realised we were grounded. We immediately pulled all the sails down, and put on our life jackets.
‘At one stage we thought we might go over , and had the life raft ready, but then managed to get off on to a rescue boat. We both feel terrible.
'Nobody likes hitting rocks, so this was very embarrassing.’
As dramatic pictures show, the Knight Star ended up perched on its 6ft deep fin keel as the tide went out.
A member of the crew of Le Galaté, one of the French vessels involved in the rescue, said: ‘We got the two Englishmen aboard and out of harm’s way, but could do nothing for the yacht as it rose higher and higher into the sky.
‘The boat wasn’t badly damaged and the two crew members were uninjured, although I do think their pride might have taken a bit of a battering.’
The French sea salvage service SNSM (Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer) supervised the re-floating of the Knight Star at high tide.
‘There was very little damage, and we now on our way back to Jersey,’ said Mr Manning, who was won the race twice in the past.
‘These things happen, but it won’t put us off racing in the future. We simply made a swift decision and it was the wrong one.’