Both Eastbourne lifeboats were launched on Friday afternoon following reports from a passing vessel that a yacht was motoring at speed 5 miles offshore with no crew on board
Initially Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB) was launched to assist an 11m yacht which had suffered engine failure whilst rounding Beachy Head on passage to Sovereign Harbour. When on scene a lifeboat crewman was transferred to the casualty vessel to secure a towline, the vessel was then taken under tow back to harbour.
During the passage back to the marina, another call was received by Dover Coastguard from a passing sail training yacht that they had seen a 10m yacht motoring at speed with wind and tide apparently with no crew on board five miles offshore. Fearing a man overboard (MOB) situation, Eastbourne’s inshore lifeboat was also launched and set out for the last known position as given by the sail training yacht. The ALB passed the tow of the stricken yacht to a harbour work-boat and returned to sea to search for the suspected MOB yacht. Sea conditions made progress slow and uncomfortable for the volunteer ILB crew and the ALB was first at the reported position where they were able to overhaul the yacht and make contact. They found two persons on board, both below deck and the vessel on auto helm with no lookout. They were given safety advice and reminded that a fundamental requirement of sailing in crowded waters is the need to maintain a good watch at all times. Both lifeboats then returned to station.