22 December 2013
Both Cowes and Yarmouth lifeboats raced to the rescue of a crippled motor-sailor on Saturday evening, drifting on a gale-swept Solent and in danger of being run down by a cruise liner.
The brand new 43 foot ketch, Fin Lady, with three adults and a child on board, had set out from Hamble for Cowes in a challenging force 7-8 south-westerly and a choppy sea. The Solent crossing, however, proved even more testing than they had bargained for when, first their engine failed off Cowes, and then their storm jib was ripped away.
As the boat was swept eastwards Solent Coastguards alerted the RNLI’s Cowes-based Atlantic 85 and Yarmouth’s all weather Severn class lifeboat to the emergency. They also ensured a warning was communicated to the cruise liner Balmoral that the boat could drift into its path.
Cowes lifeboat, launched just before 6 pm, was first to reach the Fin Lady, near Prince Consort Buoy. The helm, Scott Armiger, decided that Heather Boden, a very experienced sailor, should go aboard to assess the situation. Then the lifeboat was successfully taken in tow and Yarmouth lifeboat and its much more powerful pulling power was not needed after all and could turn back to Yarmouth.
The Fin Lady was taken to a river mooring at the Folly, and Cowes lifeboat returned to its station soon after 7 pm.
Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.