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Donaghadee RNLI rescues lone sailor after 27ft yacht breaks down

Lifeboats News Release

Donaghadee RNLI rescued a lone sailor this afternoon (Friday 18 November) after his 27ft yacht broke down off the Copeland Islands in county Down.

Donaghadee RNLI


Donaghadee RNLI

The volunteer crew were requested by Belfast Coastguard to launch their all-weather lifeboat just after 11.30am and go to the aid of the sailor who had got into difficulty during his passage from Kircubbin on Strangford Lough to Carrickfergus.

The lifeboat under Coxswain John Ashwood and with five crew members onboard launched immediately from Donaghadee and made its way to the scene half a mile north west of Lighthouse Island.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging with a Force 5-6 north westerly fresh breeze and a lumpy swell.

Once on scene, the crew observed that the sailor was safe and well. He had got into difficulty when a rope got caught around a propellor of the yacht causing the engine to cut out and leave him without power and causing the vessel to drift. He raised the alarm via his mobile phone.

With the lifeboat alongside the yacht, the crew assessed the situation, and a decision was made to pass a towline to the sailor. This proved difficult given the weather conditions and the swell, but a tow was successfully established.

The lifeboat with the yacht under tow began to make slow progress in the weather to bring the sailor and his yacht safely back to the nearest safe port at Bangor marina, a passage that took approximately an hour.

Speaking following the call out, Donaghadee RNLI Coxswain John Ashwood said: ‘We found the sailor safe and well and wearing his buoyancy aid but as he was very cold, we were glad to bring him back to the safety of the shore in Bangor.

‘We would encourage anyone planning a trip to sea at this time of year to go prepared. Always check the weather forecast and tide times and always wear the appropriate clothing for your activity. Check your engine is well maintained and that you have the appropriate means of calling for help should you need it such as a VHF radio or a mobile phone. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’


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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