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Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat crew launch to yacht with engine failure

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteer lifeboat crew from Lyme Regis launched yesterday (30 September) to go to aid of a yacht which had broken down 8 miles south of Lyme Regis.

Photo shows Lyme Regis lifeboat arriving at the broken down yacht

RNLI/Nick Marks

Yacht Opalessence was on passage from Dartmouth to Portland when her engine began to lose power as it crossed Lyme Bay. Eventually the engine stopped completely leaving veteran sailors Robin and Valerie Isaacs with no hope of rounding Portland Bill with a favourable tide in daylight. Mr Isaacs was also suffering from severe seasickness as he struggled to find the cause of the engine failure in rough sea conditions.

The yacht crew clearly needed help and contacted HM Coastguard for assistance. Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat crew were paged at 2.33pm and launched their Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat Spirit of Loch Fyne eight minutes later.

Arriving at the yacht’s position at 3.07pm the RNLI volunteers made a rapid assessment of the casualty vessel and her crew. They decided that the best course of action would be to tow the 10m yacht to the safety of Lyme Regis harbour. Two lifeboat crew were put on the yacht to manage the towline and keep watch over her crew. Once the towline had been set up the two vessels slowly made their way towards Lyme Regis arriving at 5.10pm. Once the yacht had been securely moored to the harbour pontoons her crew was taken ashore to the lifeboat station.

In reviewing the day’s events yachtswoman Valerie Isaacs said, ‘We were making good progress across Lyme Bay when our engine failed, and we had difficulty with our mainsail. I was also becoming increasing concerned for the condition of my husband who was suffering with severe seasickness. Once I decided to radio the coastguard for help it was a great relief to know that the lifeboat was on its way. The RNLI crew arrived very quickly and immediately took charge of the situation. We have supported the RNLI charity for many years, but this is the first time we have needed to call on their lifesaving service.'

This was the 41st service call for the volunteers of Lyme Regis lifeboat station this year.


Notes to editors

Phot 1. Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat on scene with yacht Opalessence. Credit - RNLI.

Phot 2. Lyme Regis lifeboat brings yacht Opalessence into the safety of Lyme Regis harbour. Credit - Nick Marks

Volunteer lifeboat crew secure the yacht in Lyme Regis harbour after towing her 8 miles to safety

RNLI/Nick Marks

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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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