Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat launched late last night in response to a distress call from the crew of a passing yacht which was drifting dangerously close to the busy shipping lanes in the Dover Straits.
Whilst 10 miles offshore the four person crew aboard their Dutch registered 45ft yacht became anxious when the wind dropped and the engine of their vessel became seriously overheated and had to be shut down. Drifting perilously close to the busy shipping lanes they were conscious of the danger they were in from large ships passing at speed in the darkness. In desperation they contacted UK Coastguard for assistance who immediately requested the assembly of Eastbourne’s volunteer lifeboat crew. At 22.15 Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat Diamond Jubilee left harbour making full speed to the yacht’s position. When on scene Deputy Coxswain Ian Stringer transferred to the yacht to assess the situation and prepare the vessel for a tow to safety. The decision was taken to tow the stricken vessel back to Eastbourne for engine repairs. Arriving back at Sovereign Harbour in the early hours of Tuesday morning (9 Nov) during a sudden squall producing driving rain and strong winds, the yacht was delivered to the safety of the marina locks. The volunteer crew then refuelled the lifeboat and made it ready for service, eventually returning to their homes at 1am to get some well deserved rest before returning to their ‘day jobs’.