Staithes and Runswick RNLI and Whitby RNLI rescue a yacht in multi-agency call

Lifeboats News Release

A 40 foot yacht was rescued from the rocks on the Cleveland coast in the early hours of this morning (Thursday 15 September) after a dramatic 10 hour operation involving three RNLI lifeboats from Staithes and Whitby and HM Coastguard.

The steel-hulled yacht Phalarope ran aground at Hummersea near Skinningrove in thick fog at around 5.30pm on Wednesday.  She was making her first voyage under new ownership from Grimsby to Scotland and the Caledonian Canal.

The three crew, two men and a woman, thought to be in their 50s and 60s, were helped ashore unhurt after Staithes and Runswick RNLI volunteer crew member Luke Hutchinson swam ashore from the lifeboat to help guide them to safety alongside an HM Coastguard unit that had scrambled down the cliffs at Hummersea. Visibility was less than 20 metres.

After the three sailors had been taken to Staithes Lifeboat House, a second Staithes RNLI team went by land with two kedge anchors to stabilise the yacht as the tide fell further.  Its single keel was wedged to a rock. They also attached a float and light to help locate the yacht as darkness fell.

The Staithes lifeboat Pride of Leicester, with Drew Baxter again at the helm, relaunched after midnight to stand by as the yacht successfully refloated. RNLI crew member Liz Wilson and Deputy Launch Authority Sean Baxter boarded the yacht to help in her passage back to Whitby.

When it was realised that the rudder had jammed and the propeller was damaged, Whitby's all-weather lifeboat was launched to take over the tow. They laid a drogue to help steerage and arrived in Whitby harbour at 3.30am, with Whitby’s inshore lifeboat helping at the harbour entrance.

‘It was a long night for all concerned,’ said a Staithes RNLI spokesman this morning, ‘but a successful outcome. It involved a full range of skills and manpower with at least 10 of our team involved at land and sea, plus the Whitby RNLI crews and HM Coastguard. Happily, apart from a nasty scare for the sailors, nobody was hurt and the yacht was saved.’

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Grant McKee, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07801 257614.


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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.