On the evening of the 8th July the Men’s A crew of Ilfracombe Pilot Gig Club were on a training row from Ilfracombe to Combe Martin. As they rowed past Hele Bay they spotted an inflatable rubber dingy about ½ mile off shore. On closer inspection they discovered a middle aged man trying to row against a 5 knot tide back to Combe Martin, seemingly unconcerned that the tide was taking him to Lundy and beyond.
After failed attempts to raise the coast guard on the club’s VHF radio it was decided to bring the man aboard. When aboard he commented he had been trying for a while to row back to Combe Martin with little success. The man was dressed in shorts and t-shirt, had no life jacket or means of communication. Even after Lee Kift, who has 17 years experience on the Ilfracombe life boat, explained the danger he had been in, he showed little recognition of the gravity of his situation. The incident was reported to the Coast Guard.
The Men’s crew was made up of Keith Barclay, Jason Chubb, John Stanbury, Dion Hunt, Jeremy Webb and Lee Kift, and was being coxed by Alan Kift.