Just after midnight yesterday, 17 August, UK Coastguard received a faint Pan Pan broadcast from a lone yachtsman who’d been caught out in stormy weather off the coast of Wales.
The radio broadcast was clear enough to make out that he was in no danger and did not need immediate assistance, but he had become disorientated after the storm and his 29ft yacht had suffered engine failure.
The yachtsman’s VHF Radio had also broken in the storm and he was relying on a hand held radio which limited his signal strength. The yachtsman, who was en route from Great Orme Head to the Mull of Galloway, could see that he was about 10 miles from the coast but could not say exactly where.
The Coastguard was able to establish that the yacht was somewhere near Colwyn Bay and Coastguard Rescue Teams from Llandudno, Cemaes Bay and Penmon were sent to the Welsh coast to see if they could see his vessel from the shoreline.
The UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon joined the search later in the morning and found the yacht within five minutes of the starting the search, 10nm NE Anglesey, Wales.
The helicopter crew were able to make contact with him via his hand-held radio and he confirmed again that he was not in need of medical assistance. Once his exact position was established, the Llandudno RNLI Lifeboat was able to assist the yacht back to Conwy Bay.
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Aircraft Captain John McIntyre from the Caernarfon Coastguard helicopter said: ‘This was very good result. Obviously this was a very tired sailor, who’d been caught in rough seas and stormy weather the night before.
‘Luckily, within five minutes of initiating our search pattern we spotted the yacht and were able to establish contact with him. We were relieved to hear that he was safe and well, despite his ordeal.
‘We relayed his position back to the Coastguard so that they could send a lifeboat there to assess the damage to vessel and assist him ashore.’