Cheeki Rafiki: Prayers said for missing sailors

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

Prayers have been said in Somerset for the four UK sailors missing from the Cheeki Rafiki in the North Atlantic.

The hull of the 40ft vessel was found on Friday with its life raft still on board but there was no sign of the crew.

The yacht began taking on water on its way to the UK after an Antigua regatta.

The search for the crew, which included Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel and Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, has since been suspended by the US.

Yacht skipper Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham, Surrey, and 22-year-old James Male, from Romsey, Hampshire, were also on board.

Mr Goslin's family said they were deeply saddened by the news of the wreckage and were "trying to take some comfort" from the fact he was "fulfilling one of his lifelong dreams" by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean.

A statement from the family said: "Paul was deeply loving and exceptionally intelligent and we know will be missed by everyone that knew him. Paul had been a passionate sailor for many years and loved everything to do with the water."

'Hopes dashed'

Reverend Rose Hoskins, associate vicar in West Camel and rural Dean of the area in Somerset, said the whole community was "absolutely devastated".

"We've all been on a rollercoaster all week. Hopes raised and now really hopes finally dashed," she added.

"[We're] also aware of the immense support. The hopes and prayers of so many people out there and for that, I think everybody is very, very grateful."

The Cheeki Rafiki was returning from Antigua Sailing Week on 15 May when it began taking on water.

The crew diverted to the Azores and contact was lost early the following day.

A US Coastguard-organised air and sea search commenced about 620 miles (1,000km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but was called off on 18 May.

The families of the missing men appealed to the US Coastguard to resume the search, and a public campaign followed, with more than 239,000 thousand people signing a petition asking rescuers not to give up.

On 21 May, news emerged that the US Coastguard had resumed search efforts following an official request from the UK government.

Debris was spotted on 22 May but it was later confirmed that it had nothing to do with the Cheeki Rafiki.

The upturned hull of the yacht was found on 23 May. Its life raft was still on board and there was no sign of the crew.

The US search ended at midnight local time on Friday (05:00 BST Saturday).

On Saturday, Mr Bridge's family said they were "shocked and deeply saddened by the news" and he would be "dearly missed by everyone who knew him".

"We have been overwhelmed and strengthened by the public support we have received and would like to thank the media for their support and treating us in a respectful and dignified way," the statement added.

Image copyright US Coast Guard
Image caption The US Coast Guard issued photographs of Cheeki Rafiki's upturned hull showing its keel had broken off

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