Saturday, 23 May 2020

Long Distance Yacht Rescue

HM Coastguard has now successfully completed the coordination of a long distance rescue of a yachtsman more than 500 miles off the coast of Cornwall.

An EPIRB beacon alert was received for the UK Registered Vancouver 34 yacht Helena in an area 513 nautical miles South West of Lizard Point in Cornwall at 12.20am on Friday 22 May.   French maritime patrol aircraft and RAF aircraft supported the operation to locate the small vessel which was found to be disabled and dismasted in the Atlantic and after communicating by radio on scene, the lone yachtsman confirmed that he was uninjured but needed to get off the yacht. Two large commercial vessels offered their assistance for the rescue efforts despite being over 20 hours away.  
 
The Seaways Reymar, which is a 229 metre oil tanker, diverted to rendez-vous with the stricken yacht by Saturday and in challenging conditions, the master and crew of the Seaways Reymar were able to get the yachtsman on board in the afternoon, despite 3-4 metre swells during the operation.  They will now continue on their voyage to the USA. 
 
HM Coastguard Controller Matthew West said: ‘This long distance rescue has involved coordination with the French Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and support from the RAF because at 500 miles offshore it is well beyond the range of rescue helicopters.  

The yachtsman was rescued by tremendous seamanship demonstrated by the master and crew of the Seaways Reymar, who diverted their course and remained on scene for eight hours to ensure the safe recovery of the sailor. As well as the skipper's EPIRB satellite beacon which first alerted us to the situation on Friday, we were also aided by the fact that the vessel was transmitting on AIS which was very helpful in pinpointing the position of the yacht’