Three Rescued from Sinking Yacht off Portsmouth

Image courtesy RNLI

By The Maritime Executive 11-12-2019 08:28:11

On Monday afternoon, a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer crew helped in the response to a sinking yacht in the Solent, just outside of Cowes. 

The 40-foot yacht had lost its rudder and was taking on water. According to initial reports, it had snagged the anchor chain of a buoy at the entrance of Cowes Harbour. It was arriving on a short voyage from Portsmouth with three Swiss crewmembers on board.

The yacht began drifting westwards as it took on water. The Cowes RNLI lifeboat went to its aid, along with a crew transport vessel, the Calshot RNLI lifeboat, a police launch, a Cowes Harbour launch, a catamaran and two car ferries belonging to the Red Funnel line. 

Two of the yacht’s crewmembers were taken off by the crew transport craft, and two of the Cowes lifeboat crew boarded the yacht with a salvage pump. However, the flooding had already reached as high as the yacht's chart table, and the team determined that dewatering would be ineffective. 

As it was clear the yacht would eventually sink, everyone was taken off the craft, and the Cowes Harbour launch used a tow line to take the yacht further away from the shipping lane. The yacht finally went down off Gurnard, leaving just part of the mast above the water. The Cowes Harbour launch left a marker buoy at the site as a warning to other vessels.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charitable, non-profit lifesaving force with rescue boats located around the UK and Ireland. Its volunteers and full-time lifeguards have been saving seafarers in UK waters for nearly 200 years.