Cowes RNLI lifeboat is responding to a Mayday call from a yacht taking on water off Cowes this lunchtime (Monday).
Solent Coastguard requested the launch of the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat at just before midday after receiving a Mayday call from a vessel in the Solent area.
Volunteer crew members have manned the lifeboat and have rushed to the aid of a Sunsail yacht, which has got into difficulty to the north of Egypt Esplanade.
Red Funnel’s Red Osprey car ferry has also responded to the Mayday alert alongside the vessels ‘Protege’ and ‘CRC Gladiator’, according to AIS tracking.
UPDATE @ 12:30 – Calshot RNLI lifeboat has also been tasked to the incident and is now on scene supporting colleagues from Cowes.
Red Osprey is now moving away from the incident and continuing her journey to Southampton. It is unknown at this stage what level of disruption there will be to the East Cowes-Southampton service for the remainder of the day.
UPDATE @ 13:16 – 3 people have been taken to Cowes Yacht Haven after being rescued from their sinking yacht. They have been met by officers from Ventnor Coastguard Rescue Team.
The vessel has been taken to Gurnard Bay after its rudder was completely ripped off.
UPDATE @ 16:05 – It has been confirmed that the 40ft yacht, which had 3 Swiss men on board, snagged the anchor chain of No 2 buoy on approach to Cowes Harbour, causing the vessel to lose its rudder and start taking on water.
2 lifeboats, 2 car ferries, a catamaran, Cowes Harbour Launch, a Police launch and another vessel all rushed to the aid of the trio.
2 of the yacht’s crew were quickly taken off by the crew transport craft. The yacht was boarded by two of the Cowes lifeboat crew with a salvage pump, but they found there was just too much water to be effective, having by then reached as high as the yacht’s chart table.
As it was clear the yacht would eventually sink, everyone was taken off the craft, and Cowes Harbour released a tow line to take the yacht further away from the shipping lane. The sinking finally occurred off Gurnard, leaving just part of the mast above the water. A marker buoy was put in place by the Cowes Harbour launch, as a warning to other vessels.