Following a VHF Call to Belfast Coastguard from a 40 foot yacht in distress in Bay Ny Carrickey, they requested the launch of both of Port St Mary RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats at 5.57am this morning.
TheTrent class lifeboat Gough Ritchie II, and D-Class inshore lifeboat Spirit of Leicester, launched in a south-westerly wind force 5 gusting force 7 and rough seas. Both lifeboats headed to near the Carrick Beacon, where the casualty had its rudder and propeller fouled. The yacht had also laid an anchor to prevent further drift towards the rocks.
Having established that the three crew on the yacht had not received any injuries, an assessment of the situation was made by Coxswain Michael Keggen regarding the proximity to the rocks of the Carrick, and the weather which was rapidly deteriorating, with a three metre swell building. It was therefore decided the only safe option was to bring the inshore lifeboat alongside to transfer the crew from the yacht to the all-weather lifeboat.
The successful transfer of the crew required team work for which the crews are constantly trained. Sadly shortly after the crew were transferred the yacht broke free and subsequently hit the Carrick resulting in the loss of its keel and causing it tocapsize.
Lifeboat Operations Manager Sarah Keggen said: ‘I would like to praise the crew of the yacht for raising the alarm when they did. It they had delayed the call to Belfast Coastguard the outcome could have been totally different.’
Coxswain Michael Keggen added: ‘I would like to praise my volunteer crew on this call out under difficult conditions, and although the yacht could not be saved three lives were. The RNLI is here to save lives at sea which is what happened this morning.’
The entire Port St Mary Crew and officials extend sympathy to the crew at the loss of their yacht on passage from Liverpool to Ardrossan. They had headed to Port St Mary to shelter from the adverse weather conditions.