Lifeboat launched after 12m yacht suffers mechanical failure

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Newhaven’s lifeboat was launched on Sunday, August 30 at 4.35pm following a 999 call made to HM Coastguard.

The skipper of a 12-metre yacht with seven people on board resorted to using a mobile phone to alert HM Coastguard of the predicament they were in.

The yacht had suffered a mechanical failure meaning the vessel had lost all electrical power. This had rendered the yachts VHF radio unusable.

Having contacted the coastguard, the yachts position was given as three miles south of the iconic Beachy Head.

The Newhaven lifeboat made at full speed to the yachts last known location but on arrival the vessel could not be located.

Contact with the yacht was intermittent. Once communication was established the yacht was asked to launch its smoke flares. The yacht could still not be seen.

Volunteers from Newhaven’s National Coastwatch Institution informed Solent coastguard that a vessel could be seen close to Newhaven Harbour which was issuing smoke.

The lifeboat returned to Newhaven at full speed and located the stricken yacht.

A tow was passed and the yacht was returned to the safety of the marina.

A spokesperson for Newhaven Lifeboat said: “The importance of having a battery operated radio in case of a power failure cannot be underestimated.

“Having the means to report your location when in distress is paramount.

“Mobile phones can be unreliable at sea and it was fortunate in this case that the yacht was close to shore.”

The lifeboat returned to the station and was ready for service at 6.25pm.

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