Shallow water meant the lifeboat couldn't get close, so a crew member swam to the yacht with a towline

A skipper whose yacht became grounded off Clevedon beach in strong winds and rough seas has praised his rescuers.

The Portishead and
Bristol volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked to assist the stricken boat, which had grounded while at anchor in North Somerset on Sunday.

Lifeboat crew
member Andrew Weston had to swim to the yacht, as the water was less than a metre deep and the lifeboat could not get close enough to throw a line.

As the wind was blowing directly on
to the shore with a rising tide, it soon became clear that yacht was in danger of being turned on to its side.

Volunteer crewman Andrew said: ‘When we arrived on scene it became immediately
apparent this was going to be challenging, the yacht was aground and at times
heeling over as surf continued to pound the vessel.

‘On occasions it even looked
as though the vessel may turn fully beam onto the waves, so urgent decisions
were needed to be made.

‘As I approach the vessel I was acutely aware of the
potential dangers with the yacht thrashing around in front of me. From a safe
distance, I threw the line to the casualty who was in the companion area to
ensure this could be secured.’

The yacht skipper said: ‘The lifeboat crew were absolutely
brilliant in particular the crewmember who came to my boat, especially

‘I was worried the boat was going to turn over with me underneath it.’

Once the lines were attached to the yacht, Helm Ian Lazenby and crew member
Dave Hurst, managed to pull the cruiser from the beach.

Andrew then
boarded the boat in ‘very lumpy conditions’ and made his way the bow of the yacht
to secure a ripped head sail.  

An RNLI spokesman said the yacht was towed to Portishead Marina and handed over to
the Portishead Coastguards.

Pictures: The yacht rescue; towed back to the marina. Credit: Portishead Lifeboat