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Baltimore Lifeboat Rescues 13 On Stricken Fastnet Yacht

10th August 2017
Baltimore RNLI safely secures the stricken Fastnet Race yacht in Baltimore Harbour Baltimore RNLI safely secures the stricken Fastnet Race yacht in Baltimore Harbour Photo: Baltimore Lifeboat Station/Facebook

#RNLI - Thirteen people were brought safely ashore by Baltimore RNLI after their Fastnet Race yacht got into difficulty in the early hours of yesterday morning (Wednesday 9 August).

The volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.05am that a yacht participating in the famous offshore race had lost its rigging some 26 miles south east of Baltimore in West Cork.

With seven crew on board — coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Pat Collins and crew members Jerry Smith, Brian McSweeney, Don O’Donovan, Sean McCarthy and Eoin Ryan — the lifeboat proceeded to the scene, arriving at 3.31am.

They found that the rod rigging on the 45ft yacht was still standing, however part of the outer rigging had failed and the mast was in danger of coming down. 

The crew of the yacht also informed the lifeboat team that their fuel had been contaminated, and they were running on a small container of spare fuel, which they estimated would only give them an hour’s motoring time.

Conditions at the time were choppy, with a north-westerly Force 4 wind and 1-1.5m swell. The yacht crew agreed that a tow would be best so while the lifeboat stood by, they secured the rig as best they could.

As soon as the lifeboat sent over the tow line, the engine of the yacht cut out. However, the tow was established and the lifeboat started to bring the yacht back to Baltimore.

During the tow, due to the unstable nature of the mast, the lifeboat crew advised everyone to stay below deck in case the mast came down. 

The lifeboat towed the casualty vessel to the fishing pier in Baltimore Harbour, arriving at 10am, where they were assisted by boathouse crew Aidan Bushe, Colin Rochford and Ryan O’Mahony.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat coxswain Kieran Cotter said: “Thankfully the rigging held and the experienced crew aboard the yacht managed to do the best that they could do to avoid injury and to secure and preserve the yacht’s rig under difficult circumstances.”

In other news, Courtmacsherry RNLI has more details of its launch to a Fastnet Race yacht with a broken mast some 13 miles off Galley Head, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Ten people were rescued from the 40ft vessel after it was disabled by a broken mast amid Force 3-4 north-westerly breezes.

The racing yacht was participating in the world’s largest offshore race and was one of a whole fleet of yachts that approached the turn at Fastnet Rock during the night.

Hours before, Baltimore’s lifeboat was called to rescue two people from a RIB who had been watching the yachts rounding the rock when their boat lost power.

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