Four time Olympic sailing gold medallist and America's Cup winner Ben Ainslie was left red-faced when he and his new wife Georgie Thompson had to be rescued from their boat by staff from Richard Branson's Necker Island hideaway after they got into difficulties.
The couple who are on honeymoon in the Caribbean and were sailing close to Branson's private retreat in the British Virgin Islands when they got into difficulties.
Writing on his blog Branson revealed that the couple had a mechanical problem with the furling system on their yacht's sail, which left them unable to adjust the sails and forced them to radio for help.
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"It was great to see Ben Ainslie sailing past Necker Island as he enjoyed his honeymoon with his delightful new wife Georgie Thompson," wrote the Virgin entrepreneur. "Seeing as Ben is one of the greatest sailors of all time, what we didn't excpect to see was his boat getting into trouble!"
Three of the watersports team on Necker were dispatched to help Ainslie as the boat headed towards a reef. In the end one of the team was sent to the top of the mast to cut down the sail and avert disaster.
"Together, the team helped to stop the boat from wrecking on the Moskito reef," said Branson. "With no harm done, Ben was able to see the funny side – after all, stranger things have happened at sea. We are now hosting him and Georgie on the island for a few days."
Branson also provided evidence of his hospitality by posing pictures of the couple after their rescue on his Twitter account, and the story was confirmed by Thompson, also on Twitter.
On his blog Branson recalled that it was not the first time that he and Ainslie had encountered sail problems. The pair were part of a transatlantic record attempt in 2008, but were forced to abort their journey when they suffered a ripped sail after being hit by a wave.
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