Aberystwyth and New Quay RNLI lifeboats respond to Mayday
Whilst getting ready for their day jobs, the volunteer crew at Aberystwyth Lifeboat were paged at 8.37am on the 15th of January 2020, to reports of a Mayday call from a yacht in difficulty near to the rocks at Castle Point, Aberystwyth.
As the crew were assembling at the station, they could see the yacht in difficulty, and quickly launched the stations Atlantic 85 class lifeboat, ‘Spirit of Friendship,’ into strong winds force 6 gusting up to force 8 with heavy seas. The crew were soon by the casualty yacht just off Castle Point.
With deteriorating conditions, the yacht skipper had a small sail out, but had suffered engine failure and had no anchor hold, and was in serious danger of being pushed onto Castle rocks. A quick tow was set up and the yacht was towed into deeper safer water, where a stronger tow was then established.
The large swell and wind were making the tow tough, and trying to re-enter the harbour would have been dangerous. With the conditions due to get worse, the decision was made to take the casualty to New Quay which would provide shelter and a safer entry.
The lifeboat requested that New Quay all-weather lifeboat was launched to take over the tow, Aberystwyth lifeboat was able to tow the casualty for about a mile south before meeting up with New Quay and handing over the tow.
The New Quay crew were paged at 9:08am and quickly launched the station’s Mersey class all-weather lifeboat, ‘Frank and Lena Clifford of Stourbridge,’ arriving on scene at 10:20am. With Aberystwyth lifeboat holding the yacht head to wind, New Quay lifeboat transferred a crew member on board to assist the lone yachtsman and established a tow.
Aberystwyth lifeboat returned to station at 11am and after cleaning the boat down, returned to work and carried on with their day.
Meanwhile, the New Quay crew had begun towing the yacht into the weather towards New Quay, arriving in New Quay harbour at 1:30pm. On the approach to New Quay, the station’s D-class inshore lifeboat was launched to assist in manoeuvring the yacht alongside the harbour wall.
With the yacht safely moored, both lifeboats returned to station and were recovered and re-housed by 3pm.
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.