Second collision and third calamity puts 73-year-old sailor firmly ashore

A British yachtsman has finally given up his attempts to sail round the world after holing his boat on a reef on the Queensland coast of Australia. Eric Bennett (73), a former physics lecturer, left the UK 17 years ago in his 30-footer, Wiggy. His progress has repeatedly been checked by disaster.

Mr Bennett’s first serious mishap was in Fiji when he ran aground and damaged his boat. While working on an interisland supply ship to raise the money to repair Wiggy, the ship’s engine room caught fire near the Cook Islands, forcing Bennett and other crew to take to the liferafts. They were later rescued.

After leaving Fiji and cruising the New South Wales coast, Mr Bennett was on his way north again when he struck Flinders Reef. His boat is now reported to be beyond repair.