Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 728x90

Behind the scenes - the story of one rescue

by Nancy Knudsen on 17 Mar 2013
Refused help, ran aground - photo by The Argus .. .
What happens behind the scenes during the rescue of sailors and their sailing boats mostly remains unknown - the difficulties of the rescuers are considered hardly newsworthy compared with the real and present danger of those in trouble. That maybe true, but the efforts and bravery of the rescuers need acknowledging, such as in this story recorded by a spokesman for the rescuers - on the south coast of Britain.

The drama started on Friday morning when the Eastbourne (East Sussex) all-weather lifeboat was launched at the request of Dover Coastguard when it was apparent that a lone sailor was in difficulties nearby.

Dover Coastguard was monitoring erratic radio communications from the 38ft steel vessel, which had drifted dangerously close inshore, and requested the volunteer RNLI crew to investigate.

The lifeboat came alongside, but the yacht’s skipper initially refused to make contact with the lifeboat crew. Whilst the all weather lifeboat stood by, negotiations took place between coastguard officers and the skipper which eventually resulted in the lifeboat being stood down, the skipper abjectly refusing all offers of assistance.

Coastguard officers monitored the slow progress of the yacht against wind and tide throughout the day and were becoming increasingly concerned for the safety of the vessel and its occupant.

At 8.05pm in atrocious weather conditions with driving rain and gale force winds (Force 7 gusting Force 8) a ‘Mayday’ distress call was received by Dover coastguard from the yacht which had now run aground on the beach below South Cliff Tower. No information was given in the Mayday call, merely 'Mayday'.

Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat was scrambled and under way within a few minutes of the request to launch. Guided to the location by red distress flares fired from the yacht, the lifeboat was soon on scene. What they found was the yacht, now dismasted and 'beached' on a rocky ledge. Not knowing what would be found at the scene, a helicopter had also been launched and the land-based Coastguard rescue team.

Due to the weather conditions and the condition of the tide the lifeboat was unable to get close to the stricken yacht. It was ascertained that there was a lone sailor onboard the vessel who was in his sixties. Lifeboat coxswain Mark Sawyer suggested the coastguard rescue helicopter might therefore potentially pluck the yachtsman from his doomed vessel should the opportunity arise. However at this time he was nowhere in sight.

It was time for the land-based Coastguard rescue team to try. They made an attempt to wade out to the vessel but had to turn back as the conditions were extremely difficult. In the meantime the incoming tide was making its own decisions. It lifted the yacht off the rocky ledge and moved it closer inland, the sailor still on board.

The Coastguard rescue team made a second attempt to wade out to the vessel. This time they were successful and they climbed aboard the vessel where they found the sailor in the cabin, where there was a strong smell of gas.

The team managed to get the man out of the cabin and back to shore, where he was handed over to the ambulance services and the police. By the time the sailor was on his way to hospital, 12 hours had elapsed from the time of the first alarm.

Frank O’Neill, Watch Manager, Dover Coastguard said, 'This was a challenging situation for the rescue units, due to difficult weather conditions. The coastguard rescue team putting their water rescue training and equipment to good use were able to rescue this man from his predicament and get him to a place of safety.'
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignHelm Events 660x82Ancasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

Great Barrier Reef managers and industry prepare for summer
Marine park managers, scientists and experts recently met for the annual pre-summer workshop Marine park managers, scientists and experts recently met for the annual pre-summer workshop to assess climate-related risks to the Great Barrier Reef over the coming months. Current predictions by the Bureau of Meteorology and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are for a summer of average sea temperatures across the Great Barrier Reef.
Posted on 7 Dec
Hyde Sails Distributor in Denmark places 1000th order!
Congratulations to Kjeld Larsen, Hyde Sails distributor in Denmark, on placing his 1000th order with the loft! Congratulations to Kjeld Larsen, Hyde Sails distributor in Denmark, on placing his 1000th order with the loft! Kjeld has been working with Hyde Sails as a distributor since placing his first order in March 2008.
Posted on 7 Dec
Two Oceans, One Rock in a Proa.
A Proa is a multihull sailboat common in the South Pacific and Indonesia. They have two different sized, parallel hulls. A Proa is a multihull sailboat common in the South Pacific and Indonesia. They have two different sized, but parallel hulls. Jzero, the Proa pictured here is a shunting boat and does not tack. Ryan Finn is launching the modified 36-foot Proa, so as to accomplish the fastest-ever, nonstop solo-sail, around the Old Clipper-ship Cape Horn Route from New York to San Francisco.
Posted on 2 Dec
Predictwind release improved racing and cruising routing function
PredictWind has released a major upgrade to its Routing function, taking a much more graphic and interactive approach PredictWind has released a major upgrade to its Routing function, taking a much more graphic and interactive approach to what has been a black art of weather routing, used to chose the fastest route for racers or most comfortable route for cruisers.
Posted on 28 Nov
Only room for one at the top
The results of RMIT's (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) independent testing are in. The results of RMIT's (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) independent testing are in. Zhik® is the market leader in waterproof durability with a new standard that replicates the real world sailing environment and conditions. It is an astounding four times more so than the previous leader.
Posted on 28 Nov
Parlier reigns supreme in Hydrofoil Worlds
The south westerly breeze kicks over the land mass over north facing beach, making for flat water despite strong wind. Whatever the shortcomings of the Fremantle Doctor on the first day of competition, were made up for in spades on day two, when the wind kicked in early at 15 knots and quickly built to 18 with gusts as high as 26. The Rockingham course is perfectly suited to such conditions. The south westerly breeze kicks over the land mass over the north facing beach, making for flat water despite strong wind.
Posted on 27 Nov
Fourth Blog from on board Perie Banou II
Oh no - not the coffee cup Oh no - not the coffee cup - Jon keeps us all entertained as he approaches Reunion Island. The B&G chartplotter tells me since leaving the pleasant mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon (by world standards, an isolated town), that I have sailed some 2559 NM and have 751nm to go to Le Port Reunion Island. French. Reunion is a Suburb (department) of Paris. Population 844,000.
Posted on 23 Nov
Third Blog from onboard Perie Banou II
Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. It is 0830am here. 1030 in Western Australia. Windy. Rather Windy. Wind over the last week has been quiet and mild - Trade Winds from South East and South South East. Barometer 1018 to 1020 whatever they are. Last night I tapped the barometer and it sorta went oops. 1015hPa. Blimey.
Posted on 18 Nov
Second Blog from onboard Perie Banou II
This is day 13 since leaving the mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon. Remote region. Beautiful town. This is day 13 since leaving the mid Western Australian town of Carnarvon. Remote region. Beautiful town. Kept cooler by the strong south winds, which make the trees bend and grow to the north. Carnarvon is nice, especially the months of September, October, November, and December. The wind is strong. Often near gale strength, with squalls and blue skies.
Posted on 15 Nov
NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic - Day 14 - A dramatic final day
After a week of light winds trades finally returned on last day of NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic to provide pulsating end After a week of light winds the trades finally returned on the last day of the 2016 NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic to provide a pulsating end to the event, which saw Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Ezzy / MFC) defend his single elimination crown, while Sarah-Quita Offringa fought her way back through the double elimination with be crowned the women’s Aloha Classic Champion.
Posted on 14 Nov