Hapless sailor takes a round trip

Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:10am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - A man who thought he was sailing along the coast of southern England had to be rescued by emergency services after his motor boat ran out of fuel while repeatedly circling a small island in the River Thames estuary.

The man, who had no nautical guides and only had a roadmap to navigate by, had been trying to sail from Gillingham, about 35 miles east of London, to Southampton on April 19 by following the southern coast of England.

But he ended simply doing laps of the 36-square mile Isle of Sheppey a short distance away in the mouth of the Thames.

Eventually a lifeboat and coastguard were sent to rescue him after he used up all his fuel and ran aground, officials said on Wednesday. He told them he had been trying to navigate by keeping the coastline to his right.

"He was attempting to travel around the UK from Medway to Southampton and had somehow lost his bearings and ended up traveling around the Isle of Sheppey," said Robin Castle, a member of the local lifeboat station.

"It seems he didn't have the usual maritime charts or navigational equipment."

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)

<p>A boat is rescued by a Sheerness lifeboat in this handout photo. REUTERS/Barry Crawford/Handout</p>