Cowes lifeboat involved in 'sinking' catamaran drama
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 RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.