RNLI frees yacht pinned to Sandbanks chain ferry
Caption: Area damaged by fire and sand lizard on affected area at Upton Heath © Simon Cripps
Caption: Poole lifeboat crew member throws a towline to the stricken yach
Both lifeboats were tasked by UK Coastguard at 6.25pm on Saturday 11 August and were swiftly on the scene to aid the 30 foot yacht, which had two people on board. The vessel was trapped against the chain ferry on the seaward side. A fiercely flooding spring tide had pinned it alongside, and it was crashing against the Bramble Bush Bay, the ferry that runs from Sandbanks to Studland on chains across the entrance of the harbour.
Poole lifeboat, Sgt Bob Martin (Civil Service No 50) was first on scene and it was decided to get the vessel off the chain ferry before any serious damage was done. As the lifeboat manoeuvred close enough to connect a towline, the stricken yacht continued crashing hard against the chain ferry’s steel hull. With the inshore lifeboat stood by ready if needed, the lifeboat pulled the yacht alongside and clear of the chain ferry. One of the lifeboat crew was transferred to check that the people on board were okay and that the yacht had not suffered any serious damage or ingress. All checked out okay. Although shaken, the two onboard proceeded under their own power back into Poole Harbour.
Both lifeboats returned to the station and were ready for service by 7.30pm.
Volunteer senior helm Jonathan Clark said, “This was a difficult job, in challenging conditions. The spring tide was at its peak. It was a similar scenario that happened in 2001 on the other side of the chain ferry when the yacht disappeared underneath with one person in it. The sea is unpredictable and it’s a notorious bottle neck in the harbour which has caught many experienced seafarers out, thankfully it was a good outcome.”
Paul Glatzel, volunteer lifeboat operations manager commented, “What looks a straightforward rescue was in fact an incredibly challenging and skilful rescue by the helm and crew of the Poole lifeboats. We are delighted that all involved are safe and well.”
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