Ilfracombe RNLI launch to yacht with engine failure

Lifeboats News Release

The Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat was launched on Thursday 16 July to assist a yacht with engine failure two miles off shore from Ilfracombe.

Shannon class all-weather lifeboat at sea

RNLI/Neil Perrin

RNLI Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat (library image)
The volunteer crew were asleep in bed when the pagers went off at 5.19 a.m. to summon them to the station. The Shannon class all-weather lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation was quickly launched and the crew made their way on a calm sea with a slight westerly breeze.

The crew reached the yacht less than 10 minutes later and found the yachtsman drifting in the tide trying to make way with sails up, however the light wind was making this ineffective. The RNLI Volunteer Coxswain spoke to the yachtsman and, due to the Covid -19 situation, and as conditions were calm, decided it was not necessary to place a crew member on board the yacht. Instead a line was passed to the yachtsman who secured it to the vessel himself and the yacht was towed back to Ilfracombe harbour. On arriving at the harbour around 6.20 a.m. the stern tow was changed to move the yacht alongside so that it could be placed on a mooring safely within the harbour. Once the yacht was secured the lifeboat was recovered to be cleaned and equipment disinfected ready for the next service.

RNLI Volunteer Coxswain Carl Perrin says: ‘the yachtsman was well prepared and both his inboard engine and auxiliary engine had recently been serviced but unfortunately both failed when out at sea. This incident does show how even with the best preparations things can go wrong. The yachtsman did the right thing in calling for assistance as he was unable to make way in the light conditions.’

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.

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