Suffolk sailor's family 'frantic' as fears grow over disappearance in yacht at sea

Credit: Clarke and Carter

Duncan Lougee, from Ipswich, is missing after attempting to travel from Plymouth to Ireland in his yacht.
Duncan Lougee, from Suffolk, before taking part in the 2021 Jester Challenge. Credit: Clarke and Carter.

Fears are growing for the safety of a sailor who has gone missing while taking part in a yacht challenge.

Duncan Lougee, from Dedham in north Essex, set sail for Baltimore in Ireland from Plymouth 11 days ago.

He was expected to complete the 2023 Jester Challenge on 23 June at the latest, but has not arrived.

On Thursday his family were described as "frantic" as they appealed for information on his whereabouts.

Hours later, the Irish Coastguard confirmed it has found Mr Lougee's yacht at sea, but he was not on board.

Mr Lougee, an experienced yacht broker, boat builder and sailor, has previously crossed the Atlantic single-handedly.

He was taking on the challenge of travelling from Plymouth to Baltimore, Ireland, when he went missing in "Minke", his 25-foot Varne folkboat with white sails.

He has previously completed the same trip successfully and was planning to sail the route via the Isles of Scilly.

He was last seen at Helford River near Falmouth on 19 June.

A Facebook post said: "On behalf of the family, please look out for Duncan Lougee who has been missing at sea off the south coast since 18 June.

"Any information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is desperately needed.

"As you can imagine, his family are frantic."

Mr Lougee is a director for the Suffolk yacht broker firm Clarke and Carter.

The company describes him as having a "huge technical knowledge" and being a "very experienced single handed sailor."

They added: "We are deeply concerned for the wellbeing of Duncan.

"On behalf of the entire yachting community here in Suffolk, we would like to express our huge gratitude to the authorities for their ongoing search. Our priority at this time is supporting Duncan’s family."

Anyone with information should call the Falmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre on 01326 317575.

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