A long haul for Walmer volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Walmer RNLI called to assist a yacht with steering difficulties.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

A request yesterday afternoon, 28 June, led to Walmer’s Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan launching at 4.53pm. HM Coastguard had been monitoring a vessel around 15 nautical miles east of Deal Pier in the south-west shipping lane and had been unable to raise them on the radio. On reaching the scene at 5.23pm the crew discovered a 14m, 15 tonne yacht with one person on board experiencing steering difficulties, limited fuel and a lack of wind. The yacht was on passage to Madeira having left Hamburg four days previously hoping to cover 100 miles a day on its 1400-mile journey.

Concerns were raised about drifting in the shipping lane with the size of vessels using the Channel. An assessment was carried out by the helm and in consultation with the coastguard the final decision was taken to tow the vessel to Dover Harbour.

After checking the safety and well-being of its skipper, the crew fixed a line at 5.53pm and began the long tow at around 6-7 knots to Dover. On reaching the harbour, one crew member was put aboard the yacht to fix an alongside tow.

The lifeboat returned to station at 10.25pm after five-and-a-half hours at sea. Constant contact had been maintained to ascertain the well-being of crew who were greeted with well-deserved pizzas on being recovered.

A further tasking for the station’s D Class Duggie Rodbard II to conduct a shoreline search was made at 11.30pm but was cancelled before launch.

Notes to editors

Walmer lifeboat station was established in 1856.

It currently operates two inshore lifeboats – a B Class Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan and a smaller D Class Duggie Rodbard II.

Crews have received 28 Awards for Gallantry

Photo 1 Casualty vessel under tow.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Winslade, Lifeboat Press Officer, Walmer Lifeboat Station on 01304 374475 or 07906 623037 [email protected]
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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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