THE skipper of a boat that sank after crashing into Portland harbour breakwaters has paid tribute to his rescuers.

Kenneth Flatters and his father-in-law were guiding the Starship into the haven when their engine failed and the 35-feet long trimaran hit the breakwater rocks.

Crew from the Sound Surveyor came to their rescue on April 3 as well as Weymouth lifeboat and the Portland harbour tug, Maiden Castle. Mr Flatters, who is from Stroud, paid tribute to them and others who cared for them after the rescue.

He said: “Despite the efforts of two vessels to get to us quickly, we were dashed against the rocks.

“But under the awful ramming the port outrigger offered protection and became completely destroyed.”

Mr Flatters said that crew on the Sound Surveyor got a rope across to them and was able to pull the boat from the rocks.

He added: “The RNLI vessel arrived to take us off the yacht using their RIB, thus transferring us to the main vessel.

“Under tow, Starship eventually capsized due to the change in course combined with the absence of the port outrigger.

“She eventually sank having turned turtle with numerous holes in her starboard outrigger and main hull.

“It was a sad end.”

Mr Flatters and his father-in-law were sailing the Starship, built by sailing author Paul Constantine, from Sparks Marina at Hayling Island to Portland Marina.

“Approaching the Portland outer harbour entrance from the south under engine alone imagine our shock when it ceased to function.

“We were not far from the entrance and saw straight away that we were in trouble because both wind and tide were from our starboard side, pushing us towards the harbour wall.”

Mr Flatters wants to thank all those who have helped them.

“I would like to thank the skipper and crew of Sound Surveyor for their rapid response to our mayday call and rescue from the rocks.

“I would also like to thank the skipper and crew of the Portland harbour tug who also hurried to our rescue.”

He added: “Our thanks go out to the RNLI and to the NHS personnel in attendance.

“Having been slightly dampened and in need of a change of clothing, we were generously put up overnight by Lt Cdr Mark Kemmis Betty of the Apostleship of the Sea.

“We were very grateful for his provision of shower, food, warmth and a bed for the night.

“We were able to return to our homes in Stroud the following day.”