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British couple who spent financial savings on a yacht stranded within the Bahamas

  • Brit couple Mike Beech, 63, and his spouse Helen, 61, are stranded within the Bahamas
  • A lightning bolt destroyed nearly all of their boat’s electrical tools
  • READ MORE: What is driving Bahamas crime spike?

A retired British couple who spent their £50,000 life financial savings on a yacht at the moment are stranded within the Bahamas after their boat was struck by lightning.

Mike Beech, 63, and his spouse Helen, 61, from Lowestoft, East Suffolk, had been moored off a small island close to George Town when a lightning bolt hit the mast of their sail boat at round 6.30pm on March 23 this yr throughout {an electrical} storm.

All of their electrical navigation tools, and now they face a race in opposition to time to get shifting earlier than hurricane season arrives.

The couple – who’ve three youngsters Alice, 30, Charlie, 29, and Jessica, 27 – had been on the brink of have supper when abruptly they heard an ‘almighty bang’ and noticed a strong flash of white and blue mild.

The lightning bolt, which was captured on digital camera from a distance, has destroyed nearly the entire boat’s electrical tools, which can price at the very least £36,000  to restore and signifies that for now, they’re unable to maneuver on.

Mike Beech (RIGHT), 63, and his wife Helen (LEFT), 61, from Lowestoft, East Suffolk, were moored off a small island near George Town when a lightning bolt hit the mast of their sail boat at around 6.30pm on March 23 this year during an electrical storm

Mike Beech (RIGHT), 63, and his spouse Helen (LEFT), 61, from Lowestoft, East Suffolk, had been moored off a small island close to George Town when a lightning bolt hit the mast of their sail boat at round 6.30pm on March 23 this yr throughout {an electrical} storm

Mike, who has had several careers ¿ including as a truck driver, and Helen, who was a midwife with the NHS for 34 years, cannot afford to pay for the repairs themselves as they spent their life savings on buying and renovating the boat, and only receive a modest pension

Mike, who has had a number of careers – together with as a truck driver, and Helen, who was a midwife with the NHS for 34 years, can’t afford to pay for the repairs themselves as they spent their life financial savings on shopping for and renovating the boat, and solely obtain a modest pension

While their insurance coverage firm is anticipated to cowl a lot of the invoice, they may face prices of round £6,000 and worry that their retirement dream may come to an abrupt finish ought to their beloved boat be written off altogether.

Mike, who has had a number of careers – together with as a truck driver, and Helen, who was a midwife with the NHS for 34 years, can’t afford to pay for the repairs themselves as they spent their life financial savings on shopping for and renovating the boat, and solely obtain a modest pension.

But time is of the essence because the Bahamas prepares to enter the hurricane and tropical storm season on June 1, for which they don’t seem to be insured.

A pal and fellow sailor has launched a fundraiser to assist them cowl their insurance coverage extra and any further prices together with renewing their visas and cruising allow.

‘I by no means wish to expertise something like that once more, in any respect,’ Mike stated.

‘It’s actually scary for the time being as a result of all the opposite boats are racing again to the US to get out of the hurricane and tropical storm belt and we’re caught right here.

‘I’ve by no means seen {an electrical} storm prefer it. But we’re alive, as a result of I’m unsure what would have occurred if we had been on deck.’

Mike and Helen purchased their 38-foot yacht, Mistral Dancer, from Hamble-le-Rice in Eastleigh, Hampshire, for round £50,000 in July 2018.

It fried all of their electrical navigation equipment, and now they face a race against time to get moving before hurricane season arrives

It fried all of their electrical navigation tools, and now they face a race in opposition to time to get shifting earlier than hurricane season arrives

The lightning bolt, which was captured on camera from a distance, has destroyed almost all of the boat's electrical equipment, which will cost at least £36,000 (45,000 US dollars) to repair and means that for now, they are unable to move on

The lightning bolt, which was captured on digital camera from a distance, has destroyed nearly the entire boat’s electrical tools, which can price at the very least £36,000 (45,000 US {dollars}) to restore and signifies that for now, they’re unable to maneuver on

‘As a small little one, rising up on Trencrom Hill in Cornwall, I at all times wished to go crusing throughout the Atlantic however by no means completed it,’ stated Mike.

‘Obviously it is cash after which we had three youngsters and household life got here first.

‘So it wasn’t till my spouse retired that we may afford to do it, as a result of it is actually her pension that drives us alongside and retains us afloat.’

Before braving the Atlantic, the couple determined to place their nautical abilities to the take a look at within the Mediterranean.

‘We had finished our skippers ticket and off we went,’ he stated.

They set sail from Lowestoft a yr later, handed by the Strait of Gibraltar and headed east till they reached Finike in Turkey earlier than circling again.

The journey proved profitable and in December 2022 Mike and Helen started their 35-day Atlantic crossing, stopping in Lanzarote and Cape Verde on the best way.

‘We had an ideal sail all the way down to the Canary Islands, Then we actually did choose up some velocity, we had been flying alongside,’ he added.

While they were unharmed, the surge has destroyed all of their electrical devices bar a few lightbulbs

While they had been unhurt, the surge has destroyed all of their electrical units bar just a few lightbulbs

Mike and Helen bought their 38-foot yacht, Mistral Dancer, from Hamble-le-Rice in Eastleigh, Hampshire, for around £50,000 in July 2018

Mike and Helen purchased their 38-foot yacht, Mistral Dancer, from Hamble-le-Rice in Eastleigh, Hampshire, for round £50,000 in July 2018

While their insurance company is expected to cover most of the bill, they could face costs of around £6,000 and fear that their retirement dream could come to an abrupt end should their beloved boat be written off altogether

While their insurance coverage firm is anticipated to cowl a lot of the invoice, they may face prices of round £6,000 and worry that their retirement dream may come to an abrupt finish ought to their beloved boat be written off altogether

They arrived in St Lucia and spent the yr island hopping earlier than dropping anchor in Crab Cay, a small island just a few miles away from George Town within the Bahamas.

It was right here that catastrophe struck. The couple determined to maneuver anchorage after listening to that {an electrical} storm was headed of their path.

Helen was cooking dinner at round 6.30pm, on March 23 this yr, and Mike was studying on his telephone within the lounge when a lightning bolt struck their mast.

‘First we heard the crickle crackle after which there was this all mighty bang,’ stated Mike.

‘At first I assumed somebody had crashed into the aspect of us or one thing – it was that massive a bang.

‘With it was this huge flash of white and blue mild that simply lit the within of the boat up. It was like a flashbulb however 100 instances brighter and with blue mild added to it.

‘Obviously it is over and finished with by the point you hear it. There’s no time to panic.’

Mike peered by the saloon window and noticed the boat’s wind path indicator and aerial fall into the water.

‘I did not know what it was on the time, all I noticed was a cloud of smoke with sparks,’ he stated.

‘That’s once I realised we had had a direct strike.’

The bolt was captured on video by fellow boaters who had been anchored greater than 1,000 ft away.

Time is of the essence as the Bahamas prepares to enter the hurricane and tropical storm season on June 1, for which they are not insured

Time is of the essence because the Bahamas prepares to enter the hurricane and tropical storm season on June 1, for which they don’t seem to be insured

The couple are yet to find out how much their insurance will cover but said the local boating community has been extremely helpful and supportive

The couple are but to learn the way a lot their insurance coverage will cowl however stated the native boating neighborhood has been extraordinarily useful and supportive

The couple, who rely on Helen's pension to live, cannot afford to pay for the repairs out of their own pocket

The couple, who depend on Helen’s pension to dwell, can’t afford to pay for the repairs out of their very own pocket

‘You cannot see our boat however you possibly can see the strike would not really hit the bottom as a result of that is the place it is hit our mast,’ stated Mike.

While they had been unhurt, the surge has destroyed all of their electrical units bar just a few lightbulbs.

In explicit, their GPS system, autopilot, depth sounder, velocity log, and close-hauled gauge have all fried, in addition to the alternator and electrical relays.

It will price at the very least £36,000 to restore the boat in line with a survey carried out final week.

Mike admitted: ‘The invoice from the surveyor is horrendous. He reckons it is about 20,000 {dollars} (£15,900) in components and about 25,000 {dollars} (£20,000) to fly someone out right here with the related information.

‘I had no concept that it could be so costly. That’s nearly what we paid for the boat, which was all our financial savings and a piece of Helen’s pension.’

The couple, who depend on Helen’s pension to dwell, can’t afford to pay for the repairs out of their very own pocket.

They are additionally extraordinarily involved in regards to the mast and worry their insurance coverage firm, Pantaenius, may determine to put in writing the boat off altogether.

‘The man who did the survey stated since an EMP (Electromagnetic pulse) has gone by the boat not one of the stuff is dependable for ocean crusing now,’ defined Mike.

To make issues worse, the hurricane season begins within the Bahamas on June 1, which implies time is operating out for Mike and Helen to get their boat to security.

‘That’s actually worrying,’ he added.

Another problem is that Mike and Helen’s visas are set to expire later this week in addition to their cruising allow until they pay an extra £400 (500 {dollars}).

The couple are but to learn the way a lot their insurance coverage will cowl however stated the native boating neighborhood has been extraordinarily useful and supportive.

To assist them get again on the water, one among their pals, Tony Wells, has launched a fundraiser on GoFundMe for £6,000.

Mike and Helen had solely been planning on staying just a few extra days earlier than setting sail for Jamaica after which heading south to Colombia.

Had it gone to plan, they had been hoping to proceed their journey and go to their son Charlie in New Zealand.

‘We had been simply passing by right here, we weren’t meant to remain,’ stated Mike.

‘Maybe it wasn’t meant to be and my mom is up there laughing at me.’

To help Mike and Helen you possibly can go to their GoFundMe web page.