Some of the boats swamped in heavy seas at the weekend. Picture by Ray Richards.
BOATS moored off Cowes fell victim to rough seas, as gale force winds battered the Isle of Wight, over the weekend.
Five vessels were swamped in the bad conditions and ended up below the surface, with only their masts left visible, while Trinity Landing was also badly damaged.
Cowes Harbourmaster, Captain Stuart McIntosh, said: "Winds were recorded between 48-53 knots in the early hours of Sunday morning, and for the period between 2am and 7.30am the wind didn't drop below 40 knots.
"The conditions resulted in very heavy seas and unfortunately five day sailing boats of the Daring class were swamped. The hulls filled up and the seas were breaking over the deck. One completely broke free from its mooring and ended up on shore at Venture Quays, East Cowes. The harbour team managed to rescue it and also managed to save three others from sinking.
"A salvage operation will start as soon as there is a window to do so to recover the yachts and a dive team will use air lift bags to raise them to the surface, where they will be pumped out and brought to shore."
Trinity Landing was also damaged in the high winds and rough seas and is expected to be out of service until later this week.
"Several of the deck boards at Trinity Landing were damaged and ripped out, which means it will be out of action for several days. There was also some damage on the walkway at Town Quay pontoon which had an effect on Red Jet sailings on Sunday morning.
"What's happened again re-enforces the very strong case for the protection of the harbour with an outer-breakwater," said Capt MacInstosh.
Two of the boats swamped in the heavy seas. Picture by Rick Tomlinson http://www.rick-tomlinson.com/.
The boat masts underwater and workman on the pontoon carrying our repairs to Trinity Landing. Picture by Peter Boam.