Tangled spinnaker leads to man overboard emergency

Lifeboats News Release

A tangled spinnaker turned out to be the least of the problems for the five people crewing a Cowes Week yacht, resulting in several craft, including Cowes RNLI lifeboat, rushing to its aid.

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The spinnaker-tangling occurred aboard a quarter tonner in brisk winds, in the area of Ryde Middle Bank. It appeared the yacht had tipped flat onto the sea when a crew member climbed the mast to try to free the recalcitrant sail, resulting in him crashing into the water.

Cowes lifeboat was tasked around 2 pm by Coastguards to assist the independent Gosport lifeboat, already on the scene.

With one yacht crew member needing medical attention, the now re-righted craft was eventually taken in tow to Shepards Marina, Cowes, by a Cowes Week committee boat; there the yacht was met by Isle of Wight coastguards and ambulance personnel.

The same yacht also needed help in last year’s Cowes Week, when it lost its rudder.

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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.

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