The alarm was raised after his 12 metre yacht Kate was seen by another vessel off the Cornish coast with sails up and nobody on board

Accomplished sailor Philip Walwyn has passed away in hospital after being recovered from the sea off the Cornish coast.

The 68 year old from St Kitts, who was sailing from the Azores, had been expected in Falmouth on Monday as he completed his 17th solo crossing of the Atlantic.

Mr Walwyn was in the final stages of his transatlantic voyage to Falmouth from Nova Scotia when the tragic incident occurred. He was sailing his 12m yacht Kate, a classic yacht replica he built himself with no engine, no instruments and tiller steering.

An MCA spokesperson said: “A search for a missing yachtsman who was travelling from the Azores to Falmouth has now been suspended after a person was found in the water during a search between the Lizard and Coverack.”

“The alarm was raised with the UK Coastguard at 13.45 today (Monday) after another vessel discovered the 50ft yacht with its sails up and no-one on board.

“Lizard and Falmouth RNLI all weather lifeboats, Falmouth RNLI inshore lifeboat, a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, the Porthoustock Coastguard Rescue Team and locals yachts searched an area north-east of The Lizard after the yacht was discovered unmanned and going around in circles.”

Mr Walwyn was after found in the water between the Lizard and Coverack, and taken to hospital in a very serious condition, where he later died.

‘Kate’ his 12 metre yacht, is a replica of a 1906 design by renowned Scottish designer Alfred Mylne. He built the boat himself in the grounds of his home in St Kitts, inside a polytunnel.

Assisted by five locals from the island with no experience of boat building, he salvaged lead from wrecks to form the keel and made the boat from imported spruce and epoxy resin, in order to stay faithful to the original design.

A lifelong competitive yachtsman and experienced boat builder, he wished to honour the Mylne design with his yacht Kate, and so was the boat was built without an engine or modern instruments.

The St Kitts Yacht Club paid tribute to Mr Walwyn, a past Commodore and “one of the world’s utmost sailing legends.”

In a statement, the club said: “Philip is a man that has come into so many peoples lives and has given his heart and soul to everyone and everything he’s ever encountered.”

“We all give thanks to Philip, to his knowledge and sense of humor; whether it be sea or land. Philip will always be remembered for his heroism, his honor and his very silly sense of humor.

Philip will forever be in our thoughts and our hearts, and we will all remember the wisdom that he has bestowed upon us. Philip, you have touched so many people worldwide. Thank you.”

A Facebook page set up to commemorate Mr Walwyn’s Atlantic crossings pays tribute to the yachtsman: “To the man, the myth, the legend that is and always will be Philip Walwyn. A man that touched so many people’s hearts and souls, a man that is. Thank you Philip for all of your dancing to foxes and cross dressing and throwing glasses at the precise moment. Thank you for making all of our lives fuller, you will be very missed. With love, everyone you met.”


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Kate, rigged as a gaff yawl