Wreckage found in hunt for missing yacht woman
RESCUE crews searching for a woman who set sail in “treacherous weather” in her new yacht have found the wreckage of a vessel.
Devon and Cornwall Police were yesterday with members of Ona Unwin’s family after air and sea search teams made the discovery, believed to be her 31ft-yacht Seagair, near Sennen Cove, in Cornwall.
A force spokesman said there was no evidence of a body onboard the stricken vessel.
Ms Unwin is believed to have ignored warnings and her skill level and the conditions at sea before setting off. She was the only person on board when she left Mousehole, in Cornwall, on Saturday evening.
She had remarried her millionaire husband Carol, 61, just ten days before he bought her the boat, it emerged yesterday. The couple lived in a gated property called Coastal Hideaway in Bideford.
Ms Unwin had been due to arrive at Bideford in Devon on Sunday night, having circumnavigated the bottom of the Cornish coastline before heading north, but relatives became anxious when she failed to show up.
The 65-year-old was said to have dismissed safety warnings about the forthcoming weather when she collected the 31ft vessel from Falmouth Yacht Brokers on Thursday last week.
Proprietor Jerry Hobkirk yesterday said he would not have let Ms Unwin sail had he known she would have ignored his pleas not to set off until the weather had subsided. He also said Ms Unwin was advised to embark on a sailing refresher course before taking to the water – something the missing woman also appears to have ignored.
Mr Hobkirk said: “The weather was treacherous this weekend, even for some of the more experienced sailors. I simply cannot understand what she was thinking when she left the harbour [in Mousehole], and against the advice of the sailing school. She seemed determined to fail.”
Three RNLI lifeboats from Penlee, Sennen Cove and St Ives were taking part in the search yesterday.
Mr Hobkirk said the 130-mile journey from Mousehole to Bideford would have tested even experienced sailors, let alone in difficult conditions.
He added: “I was amazed when I found out that she had set sail. If I had known, we would have stopped her.
“There were strong winds and rough seas on a piece of coast that has very few escape routes. If you get into difficulties there aren’t very many ports to play your ‘get out of jail’ card with.”
A Falmouth Coastguard spokesman said yesterday: “At around 12:30pm today, rescue crews discovered the wreckage of a vessel around Sennen Cove.It will be brought ashore later to see whether it can be identified.”
A police spokesman said: “The wreckage of a vessel has been found, and it is believed to be the Seagair. However, investigations are ongoing.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west