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St Mary's RNLI launch to assist French yacht

Lifeboats News Release

Following a call for assistance the St Mary's RNLI lifeboat The Whiteheads, launched at 1.47pm on Sunday afternoon, the 10th of April.

The lifeboat was under the command of Peter Hicks on his first shout as coxswain, following Stuart Hitchens' retirement.

The call came from a single-handed French yacht Cap des Palmes who reported some structural damage and difficulty in down-hauling his foresail. The yacht was between the Old Wreck Buoy and Bishop Rock Lighthouse. Once on location, the volunteer crew made fast a line and began the slow, difficult six mile tow back to St Mary's in a gale force wind and heavy seas.

The skipper of the stricken vessel had sailed from St Malo in order to get some long distance qualifying miles in challenging conditions before he enters a Transatlantic race in May.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Steve Watt, St Mary's Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07867796022 or or Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668847 or

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland