Giant wave off Portugal blamed for fatal yacht capsize

Wreckage of yacht Water Waves The men were sailing from Vigo in northern Spain when their yacht was struck by a giant wave

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Two sailors from Essex were killed when their yacht was hit by a 20ft (6m) wave and capsized off the coast of Portugal.

An inquest heard that Chris Hull, 52, Glenn Foster, 23, and Chris Brooks, 24, were sailing the yacht Waterwave from Vigo in northwest Spain.

The men, from Southend, decided to stop at Povoa de Varzim harbour near Porto.

Mr Brooks said he tried to turn the yacht but the wave capsized it. The coroner recorded in a narrative verdict that the wave had caused their deaths.

At the coroner's court in Southend, Mr Hull's wife Kim paid tribute to her husband but said she was unhappy with the verdict and would be seeking legal advice.

Mr Brooks told the court he was a commercially endorsed yachtmaster and had other sailing qualifications.

The inquest heard the group set sail from Vigo, in Spain in good weather conditions.

But the yacht got into trouble when it stopped at Povoa de Varzim to change crews.

The wave struck as the yacht turned, breaking the mast as it entered the harbour.

Mr Brooks was thrown from the yacht because he was not wearing his lifeline.

He said he could see Mr Hull and Mr Foster still attached to the side of the capsized yacht by their lifelines.

He tried to swim towards them but the yacht was moving away. He turned around and headed for the shore where he was later picked up.

The yacht later crashed on to the shore.

Mr Hull's wife Kim asked whose decision it was to enter the harbour.

Mr Brooks said it was a joint decision as there were no warning lights or announcements on the radio to tell them otherwise.

Update 16 October 2012: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly attributed some information heard during the inquest as being said by Chris Brooks.

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