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Lone Sailor Rescued By Courtmacsherry RNLI after Yacht Suffers Broken Mast Plus Steering & Engine Failure After 14 Days at Sea

29th June 2021
The skipper of the yacht suffered the mast break four days ago and without any sleep since in gusting weather, was mighty glad to be on safe grounds of Courtmacsherry
The RNLI Lifeboat arriving back to Courtmacsherry with the stricken dismasted Yacht. The skipper of the yacht suffered the mast break four days ago and without any sleep since in gusting weather, was mighty glad to be on safe grounds of Courtmacsherry

The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning Tuesday at 9.10 am, to go to the aid of a 32-foot yacht with a lone sailor on board that got into difficulties 15 miles south-west of Courtmacsherry Bay in West Cork. The Courtmacsherry All Weather Lifeboat, Frederick Storey Cockburn under volunteer Coxswain Kevin Young and a crew of four were away quickly from their moorings, as a pan pan alert was issued by the Coastguard, that the yacht had suffered a broken mast, disabled steering plus engine failure and required immediate assistance. The yacht was at sea for the past 14 days while on passage from the Azores to Ireland when the incidents occurred in poor conditions over the past few days.

Once the Lifeboat reached the causality at 10.10 am, Lifeboat Coxswain Kevin Young assessed the situation and as the causality was completely disabled, a decision was taken to put the Lifeboat towline on board the yacht and proceed under tow to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry. The weather at sea had improved overnight and the Lifeboat proceeded at a safe towing speed back to safe surrounds of the Courtmacsherry pontoon, while also putting one crewperson on board the yacht to help a very tired skipper as they took the yacht alongside while traversing the Harbour Channel and final arrival to the Village Pontoon at 1.15 pm. The skipper of the yacht suffered the mast break four days ago and without any sleep since in gusting weather, was mighty glad to be on safe grounds of Courtmacsherry after being completely disabled at sea earlier this morning. 

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Kevin Young after they arrived back to base Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Kevin Young after they arrived back to base

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said “We are all so relieved that the crewmen was rescued so quickly this morning and praised the great response of all the crew and officers who left their workplaces and rushed to the station, in order to help a fellow seaman in distress at sea this morning”.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Crew involved in this morning’s callout were Coxswain Kevin Young, Mechanic Pat Lawton and crewmembers Tadgh McCarthy, Evin O Sullivan and Conor Tyndall.

This was the 17th callout of 2021 for the All Weather Lifeboat Station in Courtmacsherry.

Of note today is that the crew and officers that responded to the callout included Station officer Martin McCarthy who recently received a Silver Medal from the RNLI for over 50 years of service at the station and current Crewman Conor Dullea who recently received his 30 year long service award as a crewperson at the station.

Members of the Courtmacsherry maritime community are assisting the sailor. Irish Cruising Club member and local Norman Kean adds: 

The yacht involved, Marie, is a Contessa 32. On passage from Terceira in the Azores to Dingle, a cap shroud chainplate failed in fairly brisk weather and the mast folded up at the spreaders. The sailor then motored for a number of days, with the wreckage of the rig still standing, and both main and jib unusable but apparently undamaged (and of course irretrievable). His main VHF aerial was of course disabled and his backup handhelds had short range. He had plenty of diesel. About 15 miles south of the Seven Heads this morning, having run the tank dry, put a can of diesel in it and bled the engine, he was unable to restart it and contacted the Coast Guard. Courtmacsherry lifeboat towed him in and we are giving him every possible assistance here. I think he has exhibited exemplary self-reliance and seamanship in difficult conditions and made the call when he had no other option.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Afloat.ie Team

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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