Two early hours calls for Exmouth RNLI volunteers
Exmouth’s all weather lifeboat, Margaret Jeanwas tasked to assist a yacht in Lyme Bay at 1.53am on Monday 2 July. As volunteers were concluding the rescue nearly four hours later, another radio call from Brixham coast guards suggested another imminent rescue for the volunteers.
A total of seven volunteer crew went to the rescue of two men from Dorset aboard a 36 foot yacht, eight miles off Lyme Regis. They were sailing between Weymouth and Falmouth in south-westerly force six to eight winds and rough sea.
Volunteer Deputy Launching Authority, Dave Ashman said;
‘At first they had engine problems – water in the fuel, but they had managed to cure that problem. The rope over the side from the sheet of the jib had wrapped itself around the propeller. We got out there and towed him back to a mooring in the estuary to safety.’
At 6am, a “Pan Pan” urgent radio call indicated possible assistance needed for a local sailor returning from the Round the Island race, from the Isle of Wight. It was reported that he had lost his rudder but was managing to steer using warps and buckets. The sailor had lost the rudder at 2am but using his experience he had coped for four hours until he made the call for assistance.
The tide had turned in his favour and he headed for the Exe estuary, whilst in communication with the lifeboat crew. The inshore lifeboat, George Bearman was launched at 10am to assist in bringing him to anchor in a favourable position until there was sufficient tide to sail over the sand bar towards his destination. At this point his crewmate, a French student on work experience revealed his seasickness to the volunteer crew and they decided to take him back to shore.
The RNLI crew of the George Bearman returned to the yacht when the tide had risen at 2pm and towed the sailor back to safety.
Lifeboat operations manager, Kevin Riley commended the volunteers;
‘The Exmouth lifeboat crew and shore helpers turned out in the very early hours showing again their support and commitment in helping people in difficulties.’