Calamitous captain’s 6th rescue is off Sidmouth

Bumbling sailor Tim Freeman

Bumbling sailor Tim Freeman - Credit: Archant

When a bumbling sailor tried to beach his boat at Sidmouth, lifeboat crews had no idea he was ‘navigating with a road map’ and had been rescued five times in one month.

Emergency services were scrambled after Tim Freeman was spotted trying to get ashore so he could get steak, chips and cigarettes.

Sidmouth Lifeboat volunteers went to assist him and his seasick passenger, aboard 21-foot Reginald, and soon came to recognise the 24-year-old skipper.

Senior coxswain Phil Shepperd said: “We were called out to a boat very close to the beach – it was at risk of capsizing.

“A coastguard team was already out but wasn’t able to make contact, so we went to talk to him – but as soon as we approached he started his engine and moved out to sea.

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“He said he was waiting for low tide so he could buy steak and chips, and some cigarettes, but we told him he wouldn’t be able to get ashore there.”

Phil said Tim then sailed on to Branscombe, where he was moved on by the coastguard, before landing in Axmouth.

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“A coastguard went to see him the next morning and Tim said he was going on to Sussex – but all he had with him was an AA road map,” added Phil.

“Anyone can sail a boat, but most owners will get training.

“We’re happy to be called out when needed but when people are not taking advice and repeatedly being reliant on rescue services, it can be slightly frustrating.”

Phil said the cost of the callout was not as much of an issue as the time spent launching, returning and refuelling the lifeboat, which amounted to around three hours for the volunteers.

Sidmouth Lifeboat encountered Tim’s second boat – his first was unseaworthy and

was impounded by the Marine and Coastguard Agency after five incidents off West Sussex in a matter of weeks.

The incident in Sidmouth happened at around 9pm on September 23 – and he was rescued again soon after off Swanage. Coastguards are now urging him to stay on dry land.

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