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St Davids RNLI responds two nights running to yachts in distress

Lifeboats News Release

St Davids RNLI launched all-weather lifeboat Norah Wortley to yachts in difficulty on both Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 October.

RNLI/St Davids

Yacht tow in darkness

On Tuesday, the volunteer crew launched into complete darkness at 8.57pm to a yacht that had issued a PAN-PAN distress call. With a force 6 south westerly wind, the charity’s lifeboat headed through the overfalls approximately 6.7 nautical miles north north east of St Davids Head, arriving on scene around half an hour later.

The coxswain assessed how well the yacht was proceeding under sail with the intention of escorting the casualty vessel to Fishguard harbour. However the yachts speed of less than two knots made steering a course difficult and uncomfortable for the yacht crew in the conditions. A tow was therefore deemed necessary.

The yacht was towed to Fishguard harbour and positioned against the harbour wall by Fishguard Lifeboat Station at approximately 00.15am. After a quick respite and refreshment from Fishguard RNLI crew, and with the casualty vessel now safe and alongside, St Davids volunteer crew returned to station and were ready for service by 1am.

Less than 24 hours later at 6.31pm, the charity’s lifeboat was tasked to a yacht with broken mast rigging 16 nautical miles north north west of St Davids Head. Sea conditions were moderate to rough and it took 45 minutes to reach the stricken vessel and fatigued crew. Once again the St Davids RNLI coxswain assessed the vessel which with a speed of two knots would have resulted in a 10 hour journey to the nearest safe haven 20 nautical miles away, a tow was deemed necessary.

The tow was passed and once rigged the lifeboat and casualty proceeded at five to six knots over the ground. Approaching Fishguard, the tide fortunately turned, assisting progress of the rescue. Once off the breakwater at Fishguard the yacht was escorted onto Fishguard RNLI’s casualty mooring, arriving around midnight. Again Fishguard RNLI kindly provided refreshments for the St Davids volunteers, after which the crew returned to their home station, arriving and rehousing at around 1.40am.

Will Chant, RNLI Coxswain for St Davids RNLI lifeboat, said:

‘Our crews train and exercise towing techniques so it was good to put that work into practice during these two shouts. On behalf of the crew I’d like to thank Fishguard RNLI for assisting shore side two nights running, and providing some much appreciated hot food and drink.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Simone Eade, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799 804 922 or [email protected] or Eleri Roberts, Regional Media Officer on 07771 941390 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI/St Davids

St Davids lifeboat alongside Fishguard harbour

RNLI/St Davids

Yacht on Fishguard RNLI casualty mooring

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.