Story of a rescue
August 17, 2011
The Royal Gazette on Page 17 this morning there was a picture of the overturned hull of the Yacht
Rambler, a past Newport Race competitor, which had overturned during the recent 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race. The rescue craft in the picture was described as a coastguard vessel that assisted the stricken craft & crew. In fact this vessel was the Tyne Class Lifeboat
Hilda Jarrett of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute fleet based at Baltimore, Southern Ireland. The RNLI is an entirely voluntary and charitable organisation.
The following is the report of the incident copied from the RNLI website.
“Baltimore RNLI lifeboat crew were involved in a major rescue operation this evening (Monday 15 August 2011) when a 100-foot yacht capsized during the famous Fastnet race with a crew of 21 onboard. Five of the crew were missing when the lifeboat arrived on scene while the remaining sixteen were huddled together on the upturned hull.
“The Baltimore RNLI lifeboat was out on exercise near the Fastnet Rock when they were alerted by Valentia Coast Guard that an emergency signal had been picked up. The lifeboat volunteer crew under Coxswain Keiron Cotter proceeded to the area and started a search.
“About 16 miles southwest of Baltimore and five miles south of the Fastnet the lifeboat crew spotted the upturned yacht with the 16 crewmembers on the hull. They told the lifeboat volunteers that five of their crew had drifted away from the yacht. After a short search the Coxswain returned to the scene and recovered the casualties onboard. They had been there for approximately three hours since their yacht capsized shortly after 5.30pm.
“The other five crewmembers who were missing had managed to tether themselves together and were spotted in the water by the Baltimore deputy mechanic Jerry Smith who had taken out his own dive boat to join in the search. One of the five was airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter to receive medical attention, and Jerry took the other four to shore.
“The remaining 20 were brought ashore at Baltimore Harbour and taken to the local sailing club to be assessed. Baltimore RNLI Coxswain Keiron Cotter said: “We had no idea what we were looking for and it was extremely hard to spot the upturned yacht in the water. They had been there for about three hours with other vessels in the race passing nearby but not being able to see them.
“We were out on exercise in the area where they capsized and we must have just missed them by minutes. We saw a light in the distance and did not know what it was so we went closer to investigate it. When we got nearer we saw that it was a torch the casualties were flashing to attract attention. Our priority was to get them back to shore as quickly as possible.”