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Bembridge RNLI assists 80 year old skipper following Pan Pan call

Lifeboats News Release

Following a pan pan urgency call, Bembridge RNLI's all-weather Tamar class lifeboat 'Alfred Albert Williams' was launched at around 3.30pm on Tuesday (10 October) to locate and assist a 7m Virgo Voyager sailing yacht with one person on board.

7m yacht King Klip under tow off St Catherine's Point

RNLI/Steve Simmonds

King Klip under tow off St Catherine's Point

The yacht's engine was not working and the vessel was in difficulty 5nm south of St Catherine's Point, having set out the previous day from Cherbourg on route for Christchurch.

Having reached the yacht at 4.30pm and having ascertained that the owner was an elderly man and that the engine was not going to be repairable, a member of the lifeboat crew was transferred to the yacht using the inflatable Y boat to help secure the tow.

Sea and tidal conditions were such that initially the tow to Portsmouth was very slow with the Alfred Albert Williams averaging only 3.5 knots until past Ventnor when she was able to increase to 5.5 knots. Having berthed the yacht safely in Haslar Marina at 10.20pm, the Alfred Albert Williams returned to Bembridge and was recovered by 11.15pm.

Coxswain Steve Simmonds said: 'it was pretty rough off St Catherine's Point and the tide was against us so the first hour of the tow was very slow. We were delighted that we were able to get the elderly skipper and what turned out to be his 'home' safely to Portsmouth.'

Note to Editors: A pan pan call signifies there is an urgency on board a boat or ship but there is no immediate danger to anyone's life or the vessel itself, unlike a mayday call which indicates imminent danger.

RNLI media contacts

· Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or

· Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825

· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

King Klip under tow

RNLI/Steve Simmonds

King Clip under tow in rough conditions on the way to Portsmouth
King Klip under tow

RNLI/Steve Simmonds

King Klip under tow

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Track of RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar 16-17)

Key facts about the RNLI

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, Carrybridge 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.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland