Portsmouth Lifeboat Responds to yachts Pan Pan Emergency radio call.

RNLI Yacht 1

The Yacht underway with Lifeboat Crewman on board

Portsmouth’s Relief, Atlantic class, lifeboat Norma Ethel Vinall was launched today (Sunday 19th October 2014 – 12.00) after hearing a Pan Pan emergency radio call from a yacht in serious difficulty, approx one mile off Southsea Seafront.

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RNLI Yacht 2

The yacht under escort at the entrance to Langstone Harbour
RNLI Yacht 3

The yacht under escort at the entrance to Langstone Harbour
RNLI Yacht 4

Calmer waters inside Langstone harbour

The lifeboat had just recovered from morning exercise when the emergency call was heard over the boats VHF radio. the yacht was calling a Pan Pan emergency as the mainstay (A strong cable that supports the mast) had snapped leaving the yacht in a precarious situation. Already dressed from the days training, the lifeboat crew immediately sprang into action, re-launched and raced towards the troubled yacht, arriving on-scene at the submarine barrier within 10 minutes.

Once on-scene the Lifeboat found that with the assistance of a nearby passing power boat, the yacht had managed to lower it’s main sail and intended to proceed under power to the nearest safe harbour, but still had the Jib (front sail) in pieces and part trailing in the water, potentially fowling propeller. After the stricken yacht had already struggled to navigate the narrow outer boat passage it was decided that the Lifeboat would place a crewman on board to assist the owners, relieve the responding pleasure crafts crewman and then escort the vessel into Langstone harbour. Gosport Lifeboat stood by relaying communications to Solent coastguard in the choppy seas.
With the volunteer RNLI Crewman on board, the torn sails were recovered from the water and the yacht made way to Langstone. The remainder of the torn Jib was stuck out of reach flapping aggressively in the force 4-5 winds.

On approach to the harbour the sea state picked up with waves around 2 metres, throwing the yacht side to side, making the snapped mainstay a greater concern. The Lifeboat continued to escort the vessel until they had reached the safety of Southsea marina where the lifeboat crew and marina staff assisted with the mooring before returning to station.

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