A skipper whose vessel had lost its rudder off the Isles of Scilly was rescued following an intensive search.

The search involved 40 people included the St Marys, St Agnes, Tresco and St Martins Coastguard Rescue Teams, the St Marys RNLI Lifeboat, two rescue helicopters from RNAS Culdrose,  the Coastguard fixed wing counter pollution aircraft and merchant vessels.

The search got underway at 7.40am on Friday, 16 October, when a weak mayday broadcast was picked up by the UK Coastguard.

Tago McLeod for the UK Coastguard said: ‘When the mayday message was broadcast, it was extremely faint.

‘We knew the name of the vessel and that it was somewhere in the vicinity of the Isles of Scilly, but other than that our information was pretty sparse. Of course the Isles of Scilly are made up of lots of inlets and coves so searching without much detail is quite challenging.’


While rescuers were carrying out an extensive search of the area, via land and sea, the coastguard made broadcasts to all shipping, asking for them to keep a sharp look out for the vessel.

Mr McLeod said it was this action that finally paid off in the afternoon, when a commercial vessel spotted the yacht and its skipper.

The skipper was airlifted from his vessel by 771 Naval Air Squadron’s Sea King helicopter and taken back to land.

The vessel, a sloop which had lost its rudder, was recovered by the lifeboat.

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Mr McLeod said: ‘Although the skipper called on VHF Channel 16, he didn’t broadcast his position and didn’t respond to the Coastguard attempting to call him. Carrying the correct communications equipment and knowing how to use it properly can save us time and ensure that we can locate you quickly.’