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Cowes lifeboat involved in 'sinking' catamaran drama

Lifeboats News Release

Cowes lifeboat joined two other Solent-based RNLI lifeboats in rushing to the aid of seven people aboard a sinking catamaran, widely used to oversee local racing including Cowes Week.

The 30 foot Twin Wakes began taking on water on the port side while north of East Bramble Buoy. As the craft began to lean further over in the choppy sea, with the port engine compartment becoming fully flooded, the seven crew were hurriedly evacuated to the police launch Endeavour.


Then Cowes and Calshot inshore lifeboats put their portable pumps aboard in the hope of making the vessel buoyant enough to be towed. “By then, though, it was close to capsizing,” said the Cowes helm, Alasdair Boden. “And the amount of water aboard proved just too much.”


Eventually Solent Coastguards requested the help of Bembridge’s all weather lifeboat. When it arrived on the scene two crew members were ferried aboard with a more powerful pump, and eventually the lifeboat took the Twin Wakes in tow back to its home port of Cowes, with the Cowes lifeboat following astern.


At Cowes the vessel was swiftly lifted out of the water at Cowes Yacht Haven, to undergo a full inspection.


It is understood Twin Wakes, owned by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, was at the time acting as committee boat for the Island Sailing Club’s J111 one design world championships, involving 14 teams from seven countries. The day’s racing was, however, unaffected by the drama, with the RIB, Golden Toad, filling in for its absence on the course.  


Cowes lifeboat was launched at 12.55 pm and returned to station at 3.30 pm.

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.

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