Press Notice No: 73_12
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Posted 13:50 GMT
SOLO YACHTSMAN TRIGGERS BEACON IN ROUGH SEAS OFF LIZARD
A solo yachtsman who set out from Plymouth to join a sailing challenge bound for the Azores set off a beacon that was received by Falmouth Coastguard this morning, prompting a search and rescue mission to find the sailor.
At 7.25 am Falmouth Coastguard received a notification from a UK registered Personal Locator Beacon that was transmitting 40 miles south of the Lizard. Falmouth Coastguard telephoned the registered contact details for the beacon and spoke to a woman who confirmed that her son was in possession of the beacon and that he had set off from Plymouth last Friday on a 22-foot sailing vessel as part of the Jester Challenge to sail to the Azores.
Falmouth Coastguard issued a Mayday relay message to ask for assistance from vessels in the area, which was responded to by two vessels, the Grace II and the Baltic Advance. Falmouth Coastguard also sent the Rescue Helicopter from RNAS Culdrose to the location of the beacon, along with requesting the launch of the Lizard RNLI Lifeboat. A French Customs Aircraft that was also in the area agreed to assist in the search. The weather on scene was particularly poor, with the lifeboat battling through force 9 strong gales and very rough seas to reach the yachtsman in distress.
At 9.04 am the Grace II confirmed they had spotted the casualty vessel, with the Baltic Advance, French aircraft and Royal Navy helicopter all arriving minutes later. The crew on board the helicopter were able to talk to the yachtsman over VHF radio, and he confirmed that he wanted to be taken off the vessel, which was being overcome by the rough seas and high waves. The lone sailor was then taken to RNAS Culdrose, where he is now being looked after by the Mission to Seafarers. The vessel has been abandoned.
Terry Collins, Watch Manager, Falmouth Coastguard said:
The single handed sailor, who had sailed from his home in Jersey to Plymouth before setting off to join the sailing challenge to the Azores, set off his Personal Locator Beacon as his yacht was being overcome by the incredibly rough seas. The conditions on scene today are not suitable for a small craft such as this and we do advise anyone setting out on the water take heed of weather forecasts and do not make journeys in conditions unsuitable for their vessel. The locator beacon was crucial in the ability to rescue this person, as it was the only form of distress received ashore. For offshore voyages leisure sailors are recommended to carry a satellite form of communication.
Posted By: Rosie Tapping
For further details contact:
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency Press Office
023 8032 9401