SALCOMBE RNLI crew members carried out a dramatic and daring rescue.
SALCOMBE RNLI crew members carried out a dramatic and daring rescue of a solo yachtsman from a rapidly sinking catamaran. The rescue took place on a busy day for the service, as the two Salcombe lifeboats were launched four times in seven hours. At 9.32 am Brixham Coastguard requested the launch of both the all-weather lifeboat The Baltic Exchange III and the inshore lifeboat Joan Bate, having received a mayday call from a 28 foot catamaran which was taking on water and required immediate assistance off Bolt Tail. Arriving within 12 minutes of being launched, the inshore lifeboat took the lone sailor off the vessel as one of the hulls had sunk below the water. A crew member from Joan Bate then had to be transferred onto the catamaran to attach a tow line from the all-weather lifeboat. As The Baltic Exchange III began to tow the catamaran to Salcombe, the inshore lifeboat was able to return to station and allow the three volunteer crew members to return to work. The lifeboat and Brixham Coastguard decided that as the catamaran was now totally submerged, with only the mast showing above the water, it was not able to enter Salcombe. The inshore lifeboat was therefore launched again to assist the all-weather lifeboat with the next stage of the recovery operation. With the catamaran neither floating nor sinking, the decision was made to ground it in Off Cove, between Salcombe and Soar Mill Cove. It was deemed to be unsalvageable and likely to break up throughout the rest of the day. At 4.25 pm Brixham Coastguard again requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat, this time to a 29 foot yacht which had suffered mechanical failure with two people on board and was not making any headway against a strong easterly off Bolt Tail. The yacht was quickly put under tow, brought back into Salcombe harbour and placed alongside Normandy pontoon at 5.45pm. Chris Winzar, Salcombe Lifeboat Station Coxswain said: ‘The sailor from the catamaran was recovered safely and didn’t sustain any injuries, he was safely on the lifeboat within 24 minutes of him issuing his mayday call.