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Veteran sailor lost at sea

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A veteran sailor with close ties to Bermuda is missing in the Caribbean.

Bob Peel, the former captain of the Boadicea, the superyacht owned by Reg Grundy, the late Australian media mogul and former Bermuda resident, set out from Carriacou Island, Grenada, on March 18 or 19.

The emergency locator beacon on his yacht, Kalayaan was activated on March 19 and continued to operate until March 24.

There has been no trace of 69-year-old Captain Peel since.

Mark Williams, a Puerto Rican resident and friend of Captain Peel, said the career sailor, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, had spent a lot of time in Bermuda as skipper of the Boadicea.

He added that the 630-mile trip from Grenada to Puerto Rico could have been completed in four or five days.

Mr Williams said: “Knowing him, he probably would have stopped and leisurely rested during his travels.

“We knew he eventually would visit us in Puerto Rico. He was probably looking forward to surprising us and showing up as he had done many times before.”

Mr Williams added that the US Coast Guard had joined the search for the missing man.

He said: “I have confirmed that the coastguard air division here in Puerto Rico is actively searching for Captain Robert Peel and his sailing yacht with their aircraft.”

Sailors in the Caribbean area have also been asked to be on the lookout for Captain Peel and his UK-registered sailboat.

A notice on sailing website Boat Watch from a friend said: “We had last established communications with Bob on March 14 and that his planned voyage was to head north to San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was at anchor in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou.

“After ten days of no comms we started to get concerned.

“We contacted the cruiser community down there and someone eye-witnessed his yacht, Kalayaan, departing the bay and headed north. This was March 18 or 19.”

Mr Williams added: “During these times of quarantine it may be very difficult to get enough hands to look for him.

“Captain Peel is a very experienced seafarer and those that know him are sure he is floating on a raft somewhere in the lower Caribbean north of Trinidad.

“He departed unannounced to us — we were wondering why he was not answering our usual WhatsApp attempts to say ‘hi'.

“We received news on Friday from a friend in the British Virgin Islands that they were looking for him.”

Missing sailor: Bob Peel

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Published April 08, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 08, 2020 at 8:37 am)

Veteran sailor lost at sea

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