Selsey Lifeboat Station - Launches

23rd April 2021

Selsey RNLI Respond to Mayday Call from Small Yacht

Mayday small yacht

The UK Coastguard received the Mayday from the yacht's skipper who was concerned that the sea conditions would overwhelm his yacht.

The Selsey all-weather Lifeboat (ALB) launched at 11.12 a.m. on Friday 23rd April and initially headed straight out from the beach as the lone sailor had not confirmed his position and communication problems resulted in the ALB not able to use the direction-finding equipment. Shortly after launching the Coastguard reported that the casualty had said he was between Selsey Bill and Wittering, and so the ALB proceeded around the Bill to the west.

After passing the Bill communications got better and eventually the ALB was able to get a bearing off of the yacht's radio signal and headed towards a radar target on a similar bearing. Both the ALB and the Rescue Helicopter, which had also been scrambled, arrived on scene at 11.37 a.m. After speaking to the lone sailor about his welfare the Lifeboat Coxswain reported to the Coastguards that the helicopter was not required and that the ALB would transfer a crewman to the vessel to assist the skipper with lowering the sails and clearing the decks of ropes before starting the engine and escorting the casualty vessel to Chichester Harbour.

The position of the yacht was 3 miles south-south-west of Selsey Bill and the weather on scene was wind easterly force 5-6, sea state moderate in clear sky and sunshine. At 11.50 a.m. the yacht was underway with the ALB crewman on the helm following the Lifeboat towards Chichester Harbour. Once inside the harbour the 2nd coxswain was transferred to the yacht to assist with berthing at Sparkes Marina situated inside the harbour. The yacht was safely berthed alongside at 1.20 p.m., the ALB was released from the incident at 1.30 p.m. and then departed Sparkes Marina. At 2.21 p.m. the ALB arrived back at Selsey and was recovered straight away, washed down, refuelled and made ready for service.

CREW: Rob Archibald (Coxswain), Colin Pullenger (2nd Coxswain), Andy Lee (Mechanic), Pip Skeet, Harry Emmence and Terry Healey.