Windsurfer rescued by lifeboat after hour in water in force eight winds
WINDSURFER Rod Bougourd was in the water for an hour before he was spotted and rescued.
Torbay's all-weather lifeboat was launched in force eight winds after numerous reports to Brixham coastguard of a windsurfer in difficulty off Meadfoot Beach.
After the rescue Rod, 59, thanked the lifeboat crew coxed by Mark Criddle.
He said he was slowly struggling back in, but was worried about getting on to the rocks in rough water. "I think I would have made it eventually, after another half an hour," he said.
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"I had been in the water for over an hour and I was very tired and cold. I had a thick wetsuit on but I was still getting cold.
"I didn't seem to be making as much headway as I thought because of the tide. It has put me off a bit. It is concerning when that happens.
"I was very grateful to see the lifeboat. I did apologise.
"I feel embarrassed. All my mates are going to take the mick out of me. I will be 60 in November. I have been windsurfing for 35 years.
"I'm no expert but I am experienced, especially at self-rescue.
"It won't put me off but I won't go so far out from now on. I'll stick at quarter of a mile, rather than half a mile.
"I had launched off Meadfoot at the Torquay end and sailed out past Shag Rock. I was about half-a-mile out when it happened.
"There were good waves. I took a nice flighty jump and that's when I heard the mast go bang.
"You can rescue even with a broken mast. But it had broken below the joint, which is the worst place because you're stuck. There's nothing you can do.
"I ditched the sail because it was a hindrance trying to swim with that behind me.
"The lifeboat picked me up out of the water with a winch and took me around to Torquay harbour.
"I am a member of the RNLI and I shouted thanks as they left, but I don't know if they heard me."
At the Meadfoot Beach Cafe, one of the owners Amanda Harrison-White had alerted the coastguard.
She said: "He was in the water for an awfully long time. Thank God he is OK."