Yacht designer Frans Maas dies after capsize off the Belgian coast

According to a report by Janene Pieters of NL Times, Dutch designer Frans Maas (79) and sailor Freddy Franssens (70) from Breskens were killed when the yacht Capella capsized on Saturday off the Belgian coast. As of 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, 18-year-old Hannes Goedgebeur from Terneuzen was still missing and three others had been rescued.

A spokesman for the Belgian police said that the keel of the yacht had snapped and the yacht capsized immediately. 

About six hours later, the three survivors – two Dutch aged 17 and 53 and a 37-year-old Belgian – were found clinging to the capsized boat. The bodies of Maas and Franssen were also found and a search was launched for the missing Goedgebeur.

That search was called off at sunset on Saturday. “We used all our resources to the maximum, but unfortunately nobody was found. There are no new clues to justify further search”, a spokesperson from the Belgian Maritime Rescue center said to AD. 

The ship was taking part in the Light Vessel Race, a sailing competition hosted by the Koninklijke Jachtclub in Zeebrugge. 

Maas, born in 1937, was an early adopter of fibreglass for yacht building and his designs achieved success in the 1960s during the heyday of the RORC Rule. He was also a noted ocean racer.

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