'Time to accept the worst' for missing sailors

This Is Wiltshire: The Cheeki Rafiki went missing along with its crew of four last week. The Cheeki Rafiki went missing along with its crew of four last week.

THE uncle of Steve Warren, who was onboard the yacht Cheeki Rafiki when it capsized, has said the family are taking comfort knowing he was doing something he loved when went missing.

Albert Davey, 76, of Royal Wootton Bassett, believes following the discovery of the wreckage with the life raft still attached, hope of finding his nephew alive has gone.

The 40-foot boat was sailing back from a regatta in Antigua last week when it started to take on water in the North Atlantic. On May 15 the crew contacted the boat’s owners in Southampton to say they were in trouble which was the last contact.

It was hoped the four man crew had escaped in the life raft but on Friday the yacht was discovered overturned in the water with the raft still attached, dashing the theory they were still adrift in the ocean.

Albert said: “It has been a rollercoaster of a week but I think after the divers found the life-raft still attached the time has come to accept the worst has happened.

“It is not the outcome any of us wanted but we are all taking comfort from the fact they were all doing something they all enjoyed.

“They had just won in their class in Antigua and the crew was elated. It was a case then of bringing the boat back home.

“We can only assume that something catastrophic happened in the middle of the Atlantic when the weather conditions were at their worst, with 15-foot waves and strong winds.”

Albert described Steve, 52 and the father of two daughters, as someone who was much-loved by the whole family.

He said: “Steve will be missed by everyone. What we can’t do is get angry at Steve for doing something he enjoyed.

“A lot of people enjoy doing something which has an element of risk but that shouldn’t stop us.

“We didn’t want it to end this way but at least this is an end.”

Steve, of Bridgewater, went missing with other crew members Andrew Bridge, 22 from Farnham, Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel, and 22-year-old James Male, from Romsey.

The US Coastguard initially called off the search off last Sunday but following a campaign from the families the search was started again on Tuesday, with the help of the RAF.

“What the family would like to say is thank you to the public and the media who have given us so much support and continue to do so,” said Albert.

“Because of them, the search was restarted which gave us hope and we are very grateful for that.”

Speaking earlier a spokesman for the Coastguard said: "The US Coast Guard has confirmed the life raft aboard the capsized sailing vessel Cheeki Rafiki was secured in its storage space in the aft portion of the boat, Friday, indicating it was not used for emergency purposes."

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