Vice Admiral Cherngchai Chomcherngpat, Commander of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command based in Phuket, told The Phuket News that the British man, Michael Turner, was alone on his sailboat “Pollen Path” when the engine failed.
Mr Turner was making his way from the west coast of Phuket to Chalong Pier when the boat suffered the mechanical failure, V/Adm Cherngchai explained.
The crew on board the supply vessel “Miclyn Endurance”, currently en route from Singapore to Myanmar, radioed the navy base yesterday evening, asking the navy to provide assistance to Mr Turner and gave the yacht’s last known position.
“We send the patrol boat Tor 232 to find the sailboat at around 7:30pm. They rendezvoused with the Miclyn Endurance at around 10:30pm,” V/Adm Cherngchai said.
“The Navy crew asked the supply ship where the sailboat last was and finally found it at 10:50pm,” he added.
By the time the navy boat came alongside the stricken yacht, it was some 40 nautical miles away southwest of Phuket, V/Adm Chergchai noted.
“The navy crew started towing the yacht back to Phuket, and reached shore at 9:30am,” he said.
Asked why Mr Turner was unable to use the sails to navigate his way safely back to Phuket, V/Adm Cherngchai said, “The wind was so strong that he could not come back to the shore.”
“Even though he had been at sea for three days, he still had enough food and drink to stay in the boat for three more days,” he added.
The Pollen Path, which is currently flagged as registered in Malaysia, currently remains at the navy base in Phuket.
“Mr Turner has already left the base with a friend and will come to fix the boat later,” V/Adm Cherngchai said.