Cheeki Rafiki deaths: Father relives yacht search

Cheeki Rafiki deaths: Father relives yacht search

James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren, Paul GoslinImage copyright

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Yachting crew members James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin all died

The father of one of four men who died when a yacht capsized in the Atlantic has described to a court the moment he learnt his son was lost at sea.

James Male and crewmates Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin died when the Cheeki Rafiki capsized in May 2014.

Graham Male described the discovery of the yacht and life raft as “harrowing”.

Yacht manager Douglas Innes, who is accused of failing to get the vessel checked, denies four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Mr Innes, 42, of Whitworth Crescent, Southampton, and his company, Stormforce Coaching, both deny failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner.

Winchester Crown Court heard James Male had been an unpaid intern for Stormforce Coaching and had flown to Antigua to crew the yacht before sailing it back to Southampton.

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US Navy/Reuters

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The overturned hull of the Cheeki Rafiki after it was discovered by a US Navy warship east of Cape Cod

His father said Mr Innes telephoned to say the boat was in difficulty but appeared “perfectly calm” and said “there was no panic on board”.

When the yacht was found, Mr Male was sent a photograph of the upturned vessel with the life raft intact.

He said: “It was surreal, just seeing that life raft, I just couldn’t believe it. I remember saying, I have seen enough. It was harrowing…

“I knew as soon as I saw that life raft in there.”

Mr Male said he had concerns over Stormforce Coaching’s equipment in the UK because his son used a “multi-tool” for work.

He said he had paid for his son’s flight to Antigua.

Skipper Mr Bridge, 22, from Farnham, Surrey, Mr Male, 22, from Romsey, Hampshire, Mr Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, Somerset, and Mr Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset, died after the yacht lost its keel 700 miles off Nova Scotia, Canada.

The court previously heard several bolts had failed.

The trial continues.

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Douglas Innes denies four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence