RNLI Portsmouth Lifeboats diverted from exercise yesterday afternoon to investigate reports of a lone sailor in difficulty near Eastney seafront

A passing vessel had spotted a lone sailor capsize his catamaran off Eastney seafront and get pushed towards the beach in high winds and a breaking swell, alerting Solent coastguard via VHF.

The Langstone harbour master and Portsmouth inshore lifeboat (ILB) Brians Pride proceeded to investigate.

A member of the public witnessing the incident also called the boat house directly around 12.30pm to raise the alarm.

Hull damage. Credit: RNLI/Aaron Gent

Hull damage. Credit: RNLI/Aaron Gent

Upon arrival the situation became clearer and the incident was raised to a PanPan emergency as the solo sailor was collapsed on the beach.

After capsizing the sailor quickly became exhausted swimming to the beach and was pulled clear from the waves by members of the public.

They then signalled to confirm the location of the sailor, but with the breaking swell, submerged rocks and broken groynes the ILB was unable to safely land on the beach, so two volunteer crew swam ashore with first aid kits and oxygen.

Finding the sailor exhausted from his battle to the beach, RNLI crewman Eaun Welsh administered first aid and called for ambulance attendance.

The larger Atlantic class lifeboat Norma T, arrived to secure the battered catamaran and provide first aid support until paramedics appeared on scene.

The capsized catamaran had suffered extensive damage to it’s port hull meaning that in the conditions, the lifeboat were unable to relaunch the vessel or tow it back to the Hayling Island slipway.

Once the paramedics had located the crew the casualty was assisted up to the ambulance and the lifeboat crews were released to return to station.

The lifeboat crew walking back to the station. Credit: RNLI/Aaron Gent

The lifeboat crew walking back to the station. Credit: RNLI/Aaron Gent

Due to the conditions on the beach it was unsafe to attempt a return to the lifeboat so the shoreside crew return to station on foot.