Yacht and its crew rescued from rocks at Lundy by Appledore RNLI
A classic ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ lifeboat rescue took place yesterday morning, Thursday 24 May. The pagers went off at 03.52am calling the Appledore RNLI volunteer crew for an all-weather lifeboat rescue.
A yacht had raised the alarm with the coastguard saying they were dragging their anchor in Lundy anchorage and were drifting in the dark towards the rocks. This was the last radio contact with the casualty, and thus a very urgent situation.
The volunteer crew of Mollie Hunt, Appledore’s all-weather lifeboat, sped to the scene, reaching Lundy in only fifty minutes. The yacht was spotted between Rat Island and the island, with a father, son and their dog on board. A tow was immediately set up as the yacht was by then a mere six foot away from crashing into the Sentinel rocks.
With only 0.8 metres of water under the lifeboat and the yacht so close to the cliffs this was not an easy operation.
Once the line was established the yacht was quickly towed to deeper water. The yacht’s propeller was thought to have been damaged by the rocks and therefore the yacht was towed back to Appledore arriving at the Bar at 8.30am, 40 minutes before low water. Despite the calm water, with a yacht in tow, the lifeboat had to stay out in the bay until the tide had risen sufficiently for the crew to tow the yacht safely into the estuary, due to surf running on the bar. They began the entry at 10.30am and made the yacht fast at 11am.
Due to the speed of response and the skill and training of the crew, both the yacht and its crew were safe. The yacht had only recently been purchased and was on passage to its new home on the south coast.
Lengthy night time shouts such as these highlight the dedication not only of the crew, but their families too, who are awoken when their pagers sound.
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, in a normal year, 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.