children and their parents were eventually taken safely aboard the Tilly Mint

A family has revealed their terror after they had to be rescued from their yacht during at Atlantic crossing attempt.

James and Fran Coombes set off from Portugal last November heading for Barbados on board their yacht, Dove II, with children Heath, nine, and Isla, seven and relative Tony White, 71.
After smooth sailing initially, they ran into trouble two weeks into the journey when winds picked up to 30 knots and the rudder on their 50ft boat was destroyed by the rough seas, leaving them stranded in the water for three days.

The family, of Cornwall, detailed their adventures on a blog, with Mrs Coombes writing in depth about the trauma they endured as several rescue attempts failed.



After initial plain sailing, things took a turn for the worse while near the Caribbean island of Martinique, with Mr Coombe, a former Royal Navy diver, forced to jump off the vessel to check the rudder.
Mrs Coombes wrote on the blog: 'Now I am writing this from three days ahead but trust me when I say I remember every single second.


‘At 6.30am on the 15th day of our crossing our rudder completely disintegrated and we were left with no steering. 
‘The boat made a crunching noise, not loud and swung up into wind, Jim who was at the wheels first thought was that we had lost the autopilot, however after grabbing the wheel and finding no resistance suspected the rudder. 
‘He ran up on deck, removed the spinnaker pole and we pulled in the genoa. 


during the sailing rescue


'He then scared me to death as he grabbed his diving torch and mask and literally jumped off the back of the boat, I just stood there watching and when I looked at Tony his face reflected my look of complete horror.’

‘I got Tony and the kids, we were in a little circle in the cockpit and I said we’re going to make a wish “please send a yacht, a yacht with loads of really experienced crew, enough so that some can rescue us and some can jump onboard with Jim and help him get to land.”’


On day 18 of the voyage the rescue began, with Mrs Coombes, the children, and Mr White jumping off the boat and onto the Dove II’s life raft.


‘Tony appeared in the raft and James cut us free, we were off the boat, we were in a life raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.’
They were soon all safely aboard the Tilly Mint, but Mr Coombes was left trying to salvage the Dove.
Disaster struck again when the main sail snapped, leaving Mr Coombes no choice but to call for rescue.





dad and the kids during the sailing trip


‘It was like the boat had totally rejected him but in a way it was saving him. He and the crew completed the transfer very quickly and that was it, we were rescued, all of us.’
They set foot on land in Martinique on Christmas Eve after 20 days on the water, and celebrated Christmas by wrapping fridge magnets and keyrings in tourist maps, with the children given 'paper bag stockings'.
Mr Coombes has since been searching for the Dove II while the family were given free accommodation at a hotel in St Lucia by a family friend. 




Some were very supportive of the family and their ordeal, some were NOT.  Here are just some of the negative responses by readers. 



Negative comments



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Source : Daily Mail