Rescue crews busy in gale-force conditions

The RNLI launched for three separate incidents involving yachts in the Channel over the weekend as the Coastguard was continuing a search for a Dutch yacht off the East Coast.

Selsey, Bembridge and Weymouth lifeboats were all called to assist separate yachts suffering in gale-force winds south of the Isle of Wight, drawing criticism from Coastguards on the MCA website.

Lifeboats towed the 30ft sailing yacht Bacchus with two crew on board after it had suffered intermittent loss of engine power south of the Isle of Wight.

Bembridge lifeboat towed the 36ft sailing yacht Firebird with 4 crew on board into Portsmouth after she had requested assistance some 10 miles south of Dunnose, Isle of Wight. The vessel was unable to make headway in the severe weather and the crew were suffering severe sea sickness on passage from France.

The yacht Playing Around had sustained steering problems and called the Coastguard when they were 15 miles south of the Needles.

Click here for update 30/5/07 re: yacht Playing Around

A Coastguard spokesman commented: ‘The weather conditions were well forecasted yet these yachts still chose to set sail. Anyone not heeding the weather forecasts is putting at risk their safety and the lives of the crew of the lifeboats who invariably have to go to their assistance. All vessels should check the weather conditions for the duration of their intended voyage and if there is any doubt at all, should not put to sea, always err on the side of safety and wait for more favorable conditions, even if it is somewhat inconvenient.’

The Dutch Yacht, Level Four, was spotted off the north Kent coast on Monday morning having suffered a complete electrical failure. Coastguards confirmed the three crew on board were safe and well.