Couple rescued after boat sinks

A COUPLE have told of their devastation at losing their £60,000 dream boat which was engulfed by flames on its maiden voyage.Retired fireman Trevor Herrington and his partner Claire Haystead, from Ipswich, had to be rescued by coastguards after the incident, which saw their 40ft catamaran completely destroyed.

A COUPLE have told of their devastation at losing their £60,000 dream boat which was engulfed by flames on its maiden voyage.

Retired fireman Trevor Herrington and his partner Claire Haystead, from Ipswich, had to be rescued by coastguards after the incident, which saw their 40ft catamaran completely destroyed.

The incident happened on Saturday afternoon as the couple were sailing off the coast of Littlehampton, Sussex, in the vessel they had bought the previous day.

Mr Herrington, 53, a firefighter for 25 years, was sailing home to Ipswich from Southampton when smoke was seen billowing from below the engine.

When the situation worsened, Mr Herrington and his partner decided to escape on an inflatable life raft and called the coastguard for help.

They were rescued by an RNLI crew from Littlehampton and taken back to shore but despite the efforts of a crew from the warship Cattistock, the vessel could not be saved.

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Speaking from her home in east Ipswich yesterday, Ms Haystead, 41, said: "We feel devastated. On Saturday we were just happy to be alive and were so pleased everything went well getting off the boat.

"Now it's sunk in that we were looking for a year for a boat and were thoroughly excited and we have lost our dream boat.

"We have lost what was going to be our holiday home and hobby for the next seven years, along with credit cards, digital camera and personal belongings."

Ms Haystead said she and her husband had bought the boat on Friday in Southampton and had spent the night onboard.

They set off the following morning at 11.30am home to Ipswich, and it was about four miles off the coast of Littlehampton when problems emerged.

"Trevor had not been long on deck when I smelt burning and I looked around. A little later we saw black smoke coming out from the side of the boat.

"Trevor ran down to investigate, and opened the engine room door and quickly shut it again when he realised it was full of black smoke.

"We deployed a life raft and set ourselves adrift. Within three or four minutes, they hauled us in. I didn't look at the boat again."

Speaking shortly after the incident, Mr Herrington said: "At the end of the day it's just a big lump of fibre glass with two engines, we were not hurt and that's the main thing.

"I have seen a lot of dead bodies throughout my career so it helps get things like this in perspective.

"I was pleased the inflatable raft worked anyway. Usually they end up upside down but this one did us proud."

Ivan Greer, one of the Littlehampton RNLI crew involved in the rescue, said: "We rescued a man and a woman from a life raft and brought them back to Littlehampton.

"We then went back out to try to save the boat but I am afraid it had already burnt down to the waterline."

The couple have not decided yet whether they are going to continue with the hobby and buy a new boat.

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