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Solo Devon yachtsman rescued in Atlantic storm

Credit: ITV News

A solo yachtsman from South Devon has been rescued uninjured by the Queen Mary 2 luxury liner after his boat was damaged in extreme conditions in the Atlantic.

73 year-old Mervyn Wheatley was taking part in a transatlantic race when his yacht Tamarind was battered by huge waves and storm force winds. The former Royal Marine from Newton Ferrers was on his 19th Atlantic crossing, this time as part of the Original Singlehanded Transatlantic Race, or OSTAR.

Mervyn Wheatley, pictured in 2005. Credit: ITV News

Competitors in the OSTAR had set off at the end of May from Plymouth for the 6,500 nautical mile race which is run by the Royal Western Yacht Club.

A profile on the club's website described his vessel as a 'slow and comfortable American cruising boat' fitted out with teak and a bath. This was Mervyn Wheatley speaking to us in 2005, where he explains why he loves solo sailing so much.

Mr Wheatley, a father-of-two from Newton Ferrers, Devon, served 33 years as an officer in the Royal Marines, according to the RWYC. Among his achievements is skippering one of the eight boats to take part in the inaugural Clipper Round the World Race in 1996, which he also competed in again in 2005/6.

His yacht was one of five craft competing in the OSTAR and Twohanded TransAtlantic Race to be affected by the storm, three of which are understood to have been piloted by British skippers. Despite all of the boats suffering damage, there were no reports of injuries.