Email mayday saves South Atlantic sailors

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A retired couple who got into difficulty while sailing across the South Atlantic managed to raise the alarm by emailing coastguards in Cornwall..

Mike and Iris Clelford were 2,250 miles south west of the coast of South Africa when their yacht ran into trouble.

The mast of their vessel Brilliance was damaged during a round the world trip after being battered by 50-knot winds.

The couple from Perranuthnoe near Penzance activated an emergency beacon that was picked up by Falmouth Coastguard. Mr Clelford was then able to email the coastguard and ask for assistance.

Staff at the Cornish rescue service raised the alarm and the Clelfords were picked up by a bulk carrier.

The stricken yacht had to be abandoned at sea and the couple will be dropped off by the carrier in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

"We are pleased to report that the male and female aboard the yacht Brilliance have now been rescued," said Falmouth Maritime and Coastguard Agency watch manager James Instance.

"We were amazed to receive a distress call from a couple adrift in the South Atlantic who are locals and own a café just a short walk from our Coastguard Station.

"We are glad to bring this incident to a successful conclusion with both casualties safe and well."
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