Cheeki Rafiki: Missing yachtsman's daughter makes appeal

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Media captionClaire Goslin pleaded to coastguards: "Don't give up, they need your help"

The daughter of one of four British sailors missing since they apparently capsized in the Atlantic Ocean has made an appeal to the US Coastguard.

Yachtsman Paul Goslin's daughter Claire called on rescuers not to give up.

Contact with the 40ft Cheeki Rafiki yacht was lost on Friday after it got into difficulties 620 miles (1,000km) east of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

The search for Mr Goslin and three other men was called off in the early hours of Sunday morning local time.

Image copyright Other
Image caption James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin (l-r) are all experienced yachtsmen

Miss Goslin, a second-year nursing student at Plymouth University, thanked the coastguard for their "fantastic" work so far.

"But I know what dad's like," she added. "He will be doing anything in his power to make sure he and his fellow three crew mates are safe.

"Don't give up, they need your help."

She said she had been told by the yacht's owners Stormforce Coaching the life raft was designed for 12 people so would have had plenty of space and provisions for her father and the three other men.

'Rational thinking'

The four crew members are Mr Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset; Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham, Surrey, the yacht's skipper; Steve Warren, 52, also from Somerset, and 23-year-old James Male, from Southampton.

The men were sailing back from a regatta in Antigua when the boat began taking on water and diverted to the Azores.

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Media captionKay Coombes, sister of Steve Warren, tells 5 live: "We're absolutely desperate"

Their families believe they escaped into an on-board life raft.

The coastguard said locator beacons activated by the crew indicated they were in a position 1,000 miles east of Massachusetts on Friday morning.

"Those beacons don't work if they're wet so we've got reasons to believe they're in the life raft because they're dry and they're together," Miss Goslin added.

Mr Male's father told ITV Meridian: "They waited until the first beacon had run out before they actually set the second beacon - that's rational-thinking people."

'A bit numb'

A spokeswoman for the coastguard said on Monday morning that unless there were "new developments about the case" the search would not be resumed.

The mother of skipper Andrew Bridge, Mary Bridge, said: "I'm a bit numb actually. We wanted him back.

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Media captionMary Bridge, mother of skipper Andrew: "I'm a bit numb actually"

"We know they've worked hard for two days but my husband and I and my other son and the other families all wish them to resume the search for these four men."

Mr Goslin's wife Cressida said the search should be resumed for a couple of days, adding: "We just feel that they're not being given a chance.

"If we don't try to rescue them we're just going to leave them to starve to death."

'Extreme conditions'

The RYA said typical supplies on a life raft would include survival suits, water, food, flares and a first aid kit.

Image caption The search took place over more than 4,100 square miles in the mid-Atlantic

Three US and Canadian aircraft and three merchant vessels looked for the men on Friday and Saturday but called off the search on Sunday at 5am local time.

The yacht was facing 15ft waves, 50mph winds and sea and air temperatures of 15C (60F), the US Coastguard said.

The rescuers say they consider "weather conditions, emergency equipment, and the anticipated condition of the people for whom we are searching".

Calling off the hunt on Sunday, Capt Anthony Popiel said: "Based on the extreme conditions at sea, but assuming best-case emergency equipment, the estimated survival time past the time of distress was approximately 20 hours. Crews searched for 53 hours."

Image copyright Daily Telegraph
Image caption The crew of the 1,000ft Maersk Kure took this picture of what appeared to be an overturned yacht

On Saturday, a cargo vessel which was helping with the search spotted and photographed an overturned hull which matched the description of the Cheeki Rafiki.

But Petty Officer Rob Simpson, from the US Coastguard, said the ship had "lacked the manoeuvrability, capacity and ability to help".

"It has a fairly limited possibility of picking anything up," he added.

"It is not designed for search and rescue capabilities or anything like that or trained to do anything like that."

Image copyright Tim Wright / SWNS
Image caption The Cheeki Rafiki yacht was taking part in Antigua Sailing Week

Meanwhile the yachtsman and four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie joined calls for the US coastguard to continue the search, while an online petition has gathered more than 37,000 signatures.

Television presenter Ben Fogle also added his support, adding: "We've heard too many stories over the years of shipwrecked sailors found in tiny rafts.

"If they don't have a beacon that's emitting, that doesn't mean they've perished."

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Media captionAlistair Hackett explains how people survive inside a life raft

The 12-person life raft they are believed to have had on board would typically be 1.66m high and 3.3m across.

Alistair Hackett from suppliers Ocean Safety said it would have likely had one litre of water per person on board, as well as survival equipment like flares and thermal protective suits.

'Highly unlikely'

Kay Coombes, sister of missing Mr Warren, said: "They are four strong-minded, physically strong sailors, they knew they were in difficulties and had every opportunity to get into the life raft which would have had provisions for several days.

"But if no-one is looking for them, they won't be found."

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handedly around the world, said: "Knowing the US Coastguard, I do feel one's got to listen to them.

"They know more about this than anyone else."

But he added: "Isn't it just worth just one more check, just to make sure?"

However oceanographer Simon Boxall from University of Southampton said: "It is highly unlikely, beyond reasonable doubt, that they would have missed a life raft; they are bright red or bright orange.

"And if the people were in a life raft and were aware there were rescue aircraft they would have had distress flares and beacons on board and they would have deployed them."

The coastguard has said it extends its "deepest condolences to the family and friends" of the men.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said it was aware of the missing yacht: "We are in continual contact with the US Coastguard and are providing consular assistance to the families."

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