Man saved from stricken yacht

Man saved from stricken yacht

12 September 2018

A SAILOR was rescued from a grounded yacht on rocks at Phennick Point outside Ardglass during the early hours of Sunday morning.

The alarm was raised around 3.10am with a major multi-agency response involving Newcastle and Portaferry RNLI teams and Newcastle Coastguard swinging into action.

A mayday call was made by the lone sailor on board the 20 metre yacht which ran aground on rocks at Phennick Point.

In testing conditions, the man’s yacht had become grounded on the rocks in rough seas which had a three to four metre swell. There was also a four-to-five knot south westerly wind blowing and while there was a cloudy sky overhead, visibility was reported as good.

Due to the position of the vessel on dangerous rocks and fishing gear in the area, the Newcastle RNLI crew on the larger all-weather lifeboat were unable to get close enough to lift the man off the stricken yacht.

However, the volunteer RNLI crew from Portaferry on the smaller inshore lifeboat were able to manoeuvre their vessel through the rocks and rough seas to lift the man from the rocks into the lifeboat.

Once on board, the volunteer crew took the man to Ardglass marina where he was safely handed over to the Newcastle coast guard team. The yacht was subsequently towed to the safety of the village’s marina.

An Irish Coastguard rescue helicopter had also been requested earlier on when the alarm had been raised, but was later stood down, with the volunteer crew from Portaferry RNLI returning to the station shortly before 5am.

Simon Rogers, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said that in testing conditions, the “hard work and dedication of all the agencies involved in incident prevailed with a successful outcome.”

Ardglass councillor Dermot Curran has praised RNLI and Coastguard volunteers for their work during challenging conditions early on Sunday.

“These people regularly place themselves at the front line to help others and deserve praise for the critically important role they play. We are fortunate to have such committed men and women ready to commit themselves to action when the need arises,” he said.

Cllr Curran added: “They are ready to respond at the of a hat and the highly trained individuals work seamlessly alongside other arms of the emergency services in all conditions, every day of the year.”