Two hours treading water 50 miles offshore

Falmouth Coastguard launched a rescue helicopter and the RNLI sent the Sennen Cove and St Mary’s all-weather lifeboats after an alert, in the early hours of Sunday 18 July, that a yacht had lost someone overboard.

Returning from a regatta in Cork, Buccaneer was some 50 miles north-west of Land’s End, enduring heavy seas and Force 6 winds.

Prue Nash, a yacht broker from Hamble, was operating the sails when, despite being clipped on, she fell through a guard rail.

Her harness and lifejacket caught on the underside of the yacht, pinning her under water, so she had to remove them to regain the surface. She then trod water for two cold and exhausting hours in the dark until help arrived.

Prue acknowledges she was terrified but lucky – although airlifted straight to hospital from the incident, she was unhurt.

A Coastguard spokesman paid tribute to her seamanship in being able to endure an ordeal that would have proved fatal for many.