Yachtsman Saved by Vigilant Walker

A man out walking on the coast with his dog on a path overlooking the Bristol Channel saw a a yacht drifting out to sea, with torn sails flapping in the wind. Sensing something was wrong the man informed the Coastguard.

Swansea Coastguard called out a rescue team who went to a location where they could keep a visual watch on the yacht and made a broadcast on VHF radio to try and gain communication with the yacht and also ascertain whether there were any vessels nearby that could go to the yacht and assess what the situation was with anyone on board.

After receiving no response from any vessels in the vicinity, and with growing concern from the team watching the yacht, it was decided to launch a lifeboat, the Burnham RNLI lifeboat was launched. Upon arriving they found a lone sailor who was struggling with his vessel and the weather. It was ascertained that the man had been sailing from Falmouth to Penarth. He had lost all power to his yacht, no engine power and no VHF radio and he had not slept for three days. He had experienced difficulties off Hartland Point in the fog, and then between Ilfracombe and Burnham where he had lost power and radio and his sails had become damaged.

After placing two lifeboat crew on the stricken vessel, the yacht was towed to Burnham Yacht club.

Steve Jones, Watch Manager, at Swansea Coastguard said: “We would always recommend that sailors let the Coastguard have a passage plan and register their craft and shore contact on the Coastguard CG66 scheme. If you find yourself in trouble and have lost use of your radio, call for help using other alerting means such as distress flares.”

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