Upended catamaran is real challenge for Cowes lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

The capsizing of a sailing catamaran presented a real problem for both its crew and the crew of Cowes lifeboat in the western Solent this afternoon.

The catamaran had turned completely upside down when caught by a gusting south-westerly near East Lepe Buoy, throwing its crew, comprising a teenage girl, her mother and another woman, into the water.

All attempts by the trio to right the craft had failed. The lifeboat, which launched at 2.50 pm, raced to the scene. The teenager, who was in a distressed state, was immediately taken aboard the lifeboat.

Lifeboat member James Luke jumped into the water to assist the two women to try to right the catamaran, but without success. During these efforts James suffered a crushed right hand.

Cowes Harbour Commission launch arrived to give support, but their righting efforts also ended in failure.

Emphasising the challenging conditions, lifeboat helm Mark Harker said later: “It was really rough and windy, giving everyone a major challenge. The two women were clearly exhausted when they, too, were brought aboard the lifeboat.”

Eventually it was decided the lifeboat should take the catamaran members back to Calshot, and the catamaran, still in its upside-down state, should be towed there by the harbour launch.

The lifeboat returned to station at 3.10 pm, where launch authority Penny Maclean administered an ice pack to James’ hand, which he insisted was not too bad.

This was the second call-out for Cowes lifeboat over the weekend. On Saturday night it went to the aid of a motorboat with two persons on board, stuck in the mud in Newtown Creek. The lifeboat towed the craft off the mud and, when no damaged was found to the hull, it proceeded on to Yarmouth.

The lifeboat, which launched at 11.08 pm, returned to station at 1.14 am.

Another weekend duty for the lifeboat was to provide a safely watch afloat for the starts of the famous Round the Island, which did not lead to any incidents needing its help.

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.

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