COWES RNLI lifeboat was involved in no fewer than nine incidents on the day of the Round the Island Race, yesterday, when yachtsmen – both competing and non-competing – had to contend with a strong south-westerly.
Besides dealing with dismastings in the morning, crewman Chris Adams used his First Aid training to tend to a yachtsman with chest pains prior to being air-lifted to hospital from Lymington lifeboat by Coastguard helicopter.
Cowes lifeboat, the Atlantic 85 Sheena Louise, now with a fresh crew, was again in action in the afternoon. Its ‘shouts’ included pulling two yachts off the Bramble Bank; first the Merlin and, later, the Dara.
Another alert involved the 52 foot ocean racer Galadriel, with a broken rudder and a smoking engine off Newtown. It proved to be a joint exercise, with the Severn class Yarmouth RNLI lifeboat putting two crew aboard to deal with the smoking engine, Cowes lifeboat towing the big yacht into the wind, and then Yarmouth lifeboat using its superior power to tow it back to Yarmouth.
This year’s decision to have three sets of four-person crews for Cowes lifeboat for the race day, with the boat returning to Cowes for each change over, proved to be well founded in view of the testing conditions.
Lifeboat operations manager Mark Southwell, said, “In addition, with the new Cowes lifeboat station sited right next door to the organiser of the race, the Island Sailing Club, the already close relationship between the two organisations must have been further enhanced.
“However, it needs to be stressed that the majority of the yachts involved in our lifeboat’s ‘shouts’ were not actually racing in the Round the Island at the time.”