BBC News

Mary Unwin: Woman died in yacht crash near Land's End

image captionAn inquest heard Mary Unwin "did not have the requisite skill" to complete the overnight journey

A woman who died when her yacht crashed into rocks near Land's End ignored warnings from experienced boat users before setting off, an inquest heard.

Mary Unwin, 65, disappeared in October 2012 while trying to sail overnight from Cornwall to Devon to surprise her husband.

A coroner recorded an open conclusion and said Mrs Unwin "did not have the requisite skill" to complete the trip.

Fisherman Finbar Jones said he had advised her not to attempt the journey.

Mrs Unwin's husband Carol said: "Mary in attempting to surprise me had taken on a challenge too great.

"It was her own strong-willed confidence that led to this tragic accident."

Wreckage of the vessel, the Seagair, was found between Land's End and Sennen Cove but mother-of-four Mrs Unwin's body was never found.

The inquest in Truro heard she had bought the yacht in Falmouth on 11 October 2012, and had a four-hour sailing lesson the next day.

Her instructor advised her against making the journey home to north Devon, suggesting instead she hired a skipper and crew.

'No stopping her'

On Sunday 14 October 2012, Mrs Unwin was seen crashing into a boat as she moored in Mousehole harbour, and failed to use fenders to stop her boat scraping on the harbour wall.

Fisherman Mr Jones said: "She was scatty and unsure what she was doing. But she was very determined. There was no stopping her."

Det Con Martin Hearn, from Devon and Cornwall Police, told the inquest: "Experienced fishermen, coastguards and lifeboatmen have told me they wouldn't ever try to sail at night single-handed in the way she attempted."

Cornwall's assistant coroner Stephen Covell said: "She did not have the requisite skill to sail the boat single-handed in daylight, let alone the dark."

Recording the open conclusion, he added: "She died on or about 14 October 2012 when the boat she was sailing foundered on rocks between Land's End and Sennen."

Related Topics

  • Sailing
  • Bideford
  • Mousehole

More on this story

  • Mary Unwin: Divers to search for missing woman's yacht

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.