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Dismasted 13m yacht prompts immediate launch for RNLI Largs lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew at Largs RNLI were requested to launch at 1pm on Saturday 1 October.

Photo of the stations latest qualified Helm Angus, he is standing in front of the bow of the stations Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat.

RNLI/Claire McRae

Largs Lifeboat Station Helm, Angus Fergusson

Shortly after being tasked, Largs RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat R A Wilson was launched under the command of the station's latest qualified Helm, Angus Fergusson, into a heavy squall with winds gusting to gale force.

Due to the conditions, locating the casualty yacht was a difficult task, with Angus requesting for the skipper of the yacht to fire a red flare to make it easier to locate the casualty vessel.

Once fired and the location seen, Angus turned towards the area and made best speed to the yacht.

On arrival, a volunteer crew member went on board to assess the situation. Although several of the yacht's crew were feeling the effects of seasickness, none had been injured when the mast and rigging fell.

Due to the state of the mast and rigging, it was decided that the yacht would be taken under tow to more sheltered waters on the east side of Great Cumbrae island where a better assessment would be made.

Once in calmer waters and with assistance from the yacht's skipper and other crew members from the lifeboat, the yacht's rigging and mast were secured to the side of the yacht, and then towed to Largs Yacht Haven.

The RNLI lifeboat transferred the tow to a waiting workboat which took the yacht to its berth within the yacht haven. The yacht was secured and the lifeboat returned to the station where it was washed down, refuelled and made ready for its next service call.

Commenting on his first call out as Helm, Angus Fergusson stated: 'When my pager went and I ran out to the car I knew the conditions were not favourable, with strong winds and squalls coming through on a frequent basis, which meant that we needed to get to whoever was in trouble as quickly but as safely as possible.

'When I arrived at the station and told that I was the appointed helm for this call out, I said to myself, ok you have had the best training around, you have a vast sailing and powerboat knowledge from your work so let’s now put that into action.

'I had two other helms with me and another crew member on this shout, meaning that we had some of the best people on board for a call out of this nature. The other helms on board definitely put me at ease.

'I am so glad to have completed my first call out as helm, and for it to be one of this nature. I was glad that all my RNLI training clicked into action straight away.

'Following this incident I would advise any yacht skipper to make sure all crew onboard are accounted for and not injured, after dismasting. The second thing is to ensure you have a secondary means of communication to call for help if required.'


Notes to editors

· Largs lifeboat station has been operating since 1964. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to:

RNLI media contacts

Brian Rankin, RNLI Largs Lifeboat Press Officer

Claire McRae, RNLI Largs Lifeboat Press Officer

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

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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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