Yarmouth RNLI among multiple launches during Round the Island race
Several RNLI lifeboats from Yarmouth, Bembridge, Lymington Mudeford, Calshot, Portsmouth and Cowes saw one of the busiest Round the Island Races where multiple taskings were made including one where Yarmouth Lifeboat 17-25 was sent to aid an unconscious sailor.
Saturday 1 July 2023 saw the ever-popular sailing event, Round the Island Race organised by The Island Sailing Club where over 1100 boats entered and competed to race from Cowes and complete the 50 nautical mile course.
Yarmouth Lifeboat 17-25 Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer) was one of the main vessels helping the rescue crews navigate through the vast number of boats competing in the annual race around the Isle of Wight, and alongside HM Coastguard teams, coordinated a total of 14 taskings and attended eight of those themselves.
Several sailboats encountered difficulties due to sudden shifts in wind patterns and large swells, necessitating immediate assistance from the rescue crews.
The most severe of Yarmouth Lifeboat’s call outs was a tasking to a 33ft racing yacht who sent out an initial pan-pan* request out to Coastguard requiring urgent medical assistance as a member of their crew had fallen ill suddenly and was falling in and out of consciousness.
Due to the urgency of this call, Yarmouth RNLI who were at the time, on route to another pan-pan call to a casualty with a leg injury, changed course to make good speed to the casualty vessel where once alongside the boat, who was using their sails as a source of navigating the choppy seas around the Ventnor Coast, the Coxswain brought the Lifeboat close enough that two of Yarmouth’s volunteer crew could board and do an immediate casualty care assessment.
After a rapid assessment, it was found that the casualty's condition had worsened, which is why the Coastguard upgraded the call from a pan-pan to a Mayday*. The Coastguard then lowered their on-board paramedic on to the lifeboat, so that the RNLI crew could then transfer the Coastguard paramedic on to the casualty vessel safely.
After a more thorough medical assessment, the two teams then worked together to transfer the casualty on to the lifeboat via stretcher so that the Coastguard paramedic could safely initiate a winch on board the Coastguard helicopter. The transfer was done on the lifeboat due to the casualty vessel not being able to lower their sails, and because of the more stable platform for the crews to work from.
The casualty and their partner were then transported to the local Isle of Wight Hospital, St Mary’s for further treatment.
Other taskings throughout the day included:
A capsized trimaran South of The Needles Lighthouse.
Freshwater Independent Lifeboat transferred the three persons on board Yarmouth Lifeboat for a medical assessment, once complete Mudeford RNLI then took them back to Yarmouth. Due to the requirement of the rescue resources, the vessel was left at sea and a warning was transmitted via Solent Coastguard to all nearby vessels passing the area along with an AIS beacon. This was also done as it would have been too dangerous to have established a tow during the bulk of the fleet racing through The Solent.
Two dismastings, one towards the Needles, and one outside Ventnor. Both casualties recovered their masts and rigging but requested lifeboat assistance when doing so.
Two calls were for “Man overboard” but when Yarmouth Lifeboat arrived on scene, all casualties had been recovered and no further action was required.
And the final two were DSC (Digital selective calling) also known as distress calls which is a standard method of transmitting messages via radio. These messages include the boat identity and current position. Luckily, both transmissions were done in error and no further action was required.
After leaving their berth just after 8am, Yarmouth Lifeboat and her crew returned to Station and were marked ready for service at 5:45pm
Yarmouth RNLI Station would like to send their congratulations to all who entered the race and give thanks to all operational rescue vessels involved.
Notes to editors
● Round the Island Race first took place in 1931 where just 25 boats entered.
● The record time for completing the race was in 2017 with a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 23 seconds.
● Lifeboat units involved included Lymington ILB B 882, Mudeford ILB B 806, Bembridge ALB and ILB, Cowes ILB B 859, Calshot ILB and Lifeboat, Portsmouth ILB, Sandown & Shanklin Independent, Freshwater Independent, Ryde Independent, Hamble Independent and Gosport Independent.
● *Pan-pan – is a call out for urgent situations that are not life threatening.
● *Mayday – is a call used for life threatening emergencies.
● Photos attached include Yarmouth Lifeboat at The Needles taken by Paul Wyeth, pwpictures.com on the Island Sailing Club’s website, Yarmouth Lifeboat alongside large racing yacht and in the area of St Catherine’s Lighthouse both taken by Nadine May, and Yarmouth Lifeboat leaving berth taken by Yarmouth RNLI Mechanic Richard Pimm.
RNLI media contacts
● Hebe Gregory, Yarmouth RNLI Trainee Lifeboat Press Officer [email protected]
● Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
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 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.
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries