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10m rudderless yacht towed home by Salcombe and Dart RNLI lifeboats

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday 19 August two yachtsmen set off at 5am from Dartmouth in their 10m yacht on passage to Guernsey. At the western end of the Casquets Traffic Separation Scheme, 37 miles from Salcombe, they lost their rudder and were adrift.

Solent Coastguard co-ordinated the incident and requested the Salcombe all-weather lifeboat, Baltic Exchange III, be launched to recover the yacht as it was the nearest vessel able to tow. The tide and weather conditions dictated that Dartmouth was the quickest port to tow the yacht to.

The all-weather lifeboat crew set up the yacht to tow a large drogue to keep her course steady under tow and they arrived at the mouth of the Dart at 8.40pm, just after sunset, before returning to station.

The Dart inshore lifeboat crew set up a stern tow but the yacht yawed dramatically from side to side when under way. The helmsman requested help from the Dart Harbour Authority and the tow was completed successfully with the Dart harbour rib secured alongside the yacht to give her steerage.

The yachtsmen were found a berth at the Premier Noss on Dart Marina, 16 hours after they left Dartmouth.

Notes to editors

The enclosed photo shows the Dart D class inshore lifeboat, The Spirit of the Dart, working with the Dart Harbour Authority Rib to take the rudderless yacht to a safe berth. Please credit RNLI/Andy Kyle.


The RNLI Dart D class lifeboat worked with the Dart Harbour Authority Rib to take the rudderless yacht to a safe berth.

RNLI/Andy Kyle

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

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