Richard Woods - catamaran yacht designer from Cornwall - has been rescued from his 33ft yacht off the coast of Mexico 20/1/06

Richard Woods – catamaran yacht designer from Cornwall – and American crewmember Jetti Mantzke were rescued from their 33ft catamaran Eclipse off the coast of Mexico yesterday, 90 miles from Haultuclo at a position of N 15°42’/W 94°42.

In trouble in 52kt winds Woods and Mantzke managed to contact a friend in the UK via satellite phone who subsequently raised the alarm and initiated the rescue through Falmouth Coastguards leading to a successful rescue by a US Navy warship and helicopter.

According to a report issued by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency the vessel had no life raft other than a hard dinghy, a handheld radio and flares and the EPIRB had been set off.

Martin Bidmead, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager said: “Rescue authorities in Mexico were contacted through a link call with United States Coast Guard NORFOLK and a Mexican interpreter. Mexican authorities assumed coordination. We continued to get positional updates from the vessel. The Mexican Coast Guard sent two 100ft patrol boats and a helicopter to search for the catamaran, but was unable to locate them. Fortunately an American war ship was in the area and was able to launch a helicopter to continue the search. The crew was told to be prepared to abandon their vessel and listen to channel 16 and put the vessel lights on. Communications were made via Falmouth Coastguard throughout the incident.”

The crew has now been successfully air lifted onto a United States Navy warship and should arrive ashore in the next few days.