A modern 16 foot sailing canoe with outriggers that suffered a steering failure in worsening sea conditions at the entrance to Southampton Water was towed into Cowes this afternoon by the local RNLI lifeboat.

The man aboard the sailing canoe had set out from Netley Sailing Club with the intention of reaching the Isle of Wight port of Bembridge. On hearing however that weather conditions were turning worse he decided instead to cross to Cowes, only to then find that his tiller had become disconnected.

As the mishap occurred in the main shipping channel a Southampton Harbour launch approached and a crewman emphasized the need for him to quickly get into safer waters. A call went out to Solent Coastguards who alerted Cowes lifeboat.

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The lifeboat, with Patrick Moreton at the helm, was soon on the scene and towed the craft to the public slipway beside the new lifeboat slipway.

The man, from Southampton, said the sailing canoe, which was of a new design, was extremely seaworthy, and the trip from Netley was meant to be a trial run. He himself had 40 years of sailing experience, and had ensured the boat was well-equipped with safety gear before venturing out.

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