UK

Fears For Missing Sailor Geoffrey Cole After Yacht Found Off French Coast

24/09/2013 20:53 BST
PA

A sailor is feared to have drowned after his yacht was found washed ashore off the French coast.

Geoffrey Cole, 61, from Weymouth, Dorset set sail from the town on Saturday morning bound for Swanage in his vessel Palamina but never arrived.

Police said the journey Mr Cole was planning was one he had done numerous times before.

jeff cole
Mr Cole, known to friends and family as Jeff, is an experienced sailor

On Monday morning the French coastguard found Mr Cole's 27ft boat on Monday morning washed ashore in the area of Griz Nez, situated near Calais and Boulogne with no-one aboard.

A statement from the Weymouth-based Castle Cove Sailing Club expressed "great sadness" at Mr Cole's disappearance.

Richard Bowers, commodore of Castle Cove Sailing Club, said the exact circumstances were "not yet clear".

"He had been planning to meet other Castle Cove Members in Swanage last weekend and it would appear that he may have fallen overboard en route," Mr Bowers said in an email to members.

"I am sure you will join me in sending our deepest condolences to his wife, Val, and family at this difficult time," he said.

Mr Cole's daughter Sam told the Bournemouth Echo that she now feared the worst.

"He adored sailing and it's my belief that he has passed away doing something he absolutely adored," she said.

"It was a journey he did many a time. It must have been something very sudden and immediate."

Inspector Bob Jacobs, of Dorset Police, said: "We are growing increasingly concerned for Geoffrey and are anxious to establish his whereabouts.

"His family are desperate for him to return to them safe and well.

"I am appealing for anyone with any information to Geoffrey's whereabouts to get in touch at the earliest opportunity."