RNLI Portsmouth’s Atlantic 85 Lifeboat Norma T was launched yesterday (Sunday 25th August 2013) to assist a capsized catamaran, drifting in the main channel of Langstone Harbour.

RNLI 20130825 CapsizedCat

A photo of the catamaran shortly after the tow was established. The harbour masters boat can be seen trying to help reduce drag and to stabilize the semi sunken vessel by supporting the top of the mast

The Lifeboat crew was already on station for routine training, when the capsized vessel was spotted with 2 persons floating in the water.

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Knowing that the catamaran would be difficult to right and with the fast flowing incoming tide, the lifeboat crew got changed and launched within moments.

Drifting quickly towards a large number of moored boats, Lifeboat Helmsman Pete Slidel shouted for the catamaran crew to get on board the harbour masters boat, while the lifeboat secured a line to the capsized vessels mast. Once the line was secured the Lifeboat turned into tide to bring both vessels back under control and further assess the situation.

It was found that the experienced catamaran crew had not long launched when they suffered from structural failure of the starboard rudder, this created a hole in the hull and caused water to flood in, capsizing the boat. The amount of water in the hull then made it impossible to bring the boat back up themselves.

With assistance from the Langstone Harbour Master. the catamaran was towed to the safety of the Hayling Island Public slipway where the damage was confirmed and the crew was able to trailer the boat away for repairs.

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