Kinsale RNLI crew assists solo sailor after 52 days at sea

Lifeboats News Release

Kinsale RNLI lifeboat launched yesterday (Saturday 3 July) to help a solo yachtsman, who left Caribbean island Carriacou on Thursday 13 May, en route to the UK. Three weeks in, the 51ft ketch casualty vessel lost engine power, forcing the skipper to continue his 6,500 km journey under sail.

RNLI/Kinsale

Kinsale RNLI board casualty vessel the assist the skipper

The yachtsman told his rescuers that the casualty vessel was becalmed for 10 days when the wind dropped. After he was able to resume his voyage, the sails were damaged, further hampering progress. By the time the Coastguard became aware of his plight yesterday morning, the vessel was travelling at 3 knots per hour with no prospect of reaching its intended destination.

Kinsale RNLI volunteers tracked the vessel online throughout the day and grew increasingly concerned for its safety. At 6pm, the lifeboat was requested to launch by the Coastguard to assess the situation and they located the vessel off The Old Head of Kinsale. Lifeboat helm Jonathan Connor placed crew member Felix Milner on board the stricken yacht and, after consultation, decided that taking the ketch under tow was necessary to assist the vessel to reach the nearest safe and suitable port.

Felix Milner remained on board the yacht on the final leg of the journey to Kinsale harbour to safeguard the wellbeing of the skipper, who was exhausted but uninjured despite his long ordeal. After arriving into Kinsale at 9.15pm, the yachtsman enjoyed his first hot shower in over seven weeks before being reunited with his son and two daughters, who live in West Cork and were waiting for him on the pier.

Commenting on the rescue, the yachtsman said: ‘The RNLI Kinsale are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Their expertise and commitment leave me humbled. It is an institution I have always supported and will do so for the rest of my days.’

Kinsale lifeboat helm said: ‘It is a tribute to the yachtsman’s seamanship that he made a 6,500 km voyage single-handed and remained calm and focused despite the many problems he encountered in the course of his journey. He is very fit and able but was clearly exhausted after 52 days alone at sea and it was the right decision to help him over the final hurdle and bring him safely to Kinsale.’

Ends

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Tricia McLernon, Kinsale RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 083 152 9282 email: triciamclernon@gmail.com or contact Nuala McAloon, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 00353 87 648 3547 or email

RNLI/Kinsale

Kinsale RNLI tow casualty vessel to nearest safe port

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 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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