Commendation for stranded yacht rescue

Lifeboat volunteers with the official commendation

Lifeboat volunteers with the official commendation

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BRAVE lifeboat volunteers from Eastbourne have been praised after rescuing a Dutch yacht which became stranded in treacherous conditions.

The crew at Eastbourne RNLI this week received an official letter of commendation from the charity’s operations director, Michael Vlasto, who thanked them for their actions during the rescue.

The incident happened back on July 8 when the station’s all-weather lifeboat, Royal Thames, was launched at 6.55am, following reports that the yacht, called Enterprise, was in difficulties.

At the time it was raining heavily and, following an engine failure, the yacht was stranded in south westerly force seven winds, leaving the lifeboat crew facing very choppy seas and a two-metre swell.

The lifeboat reached the yacht at 7.13am and deputy second coxswain Dan Guy was safely transferred onto the stricken vessel despite the poor conditions.

A tow line was passed to him from the lifeboat and he managed to fix it to the yacht, meaning the boat could be safely towed.

On approaching Sovereign Harbour, the crew had to battle large swells running across the harbour entrance but managed to safely negotiate the locks before securing the yacht and returning the lifeboat to the station at shortly after 9am.

In his letter of commendation, Mr Vlasto wrote, “Although I have specifically mentioned coxswain Mark Sawyer and Dan Guy, it is readily apparent that they were supported by a very professional and committed crew, whose seamanship was of the highest order.

“Everyone is to be thanked on my behalf – well done, all of you.”

Paul Metcalfe, the lifeboat operations manager at the Eastbourne station, said they were overwhelmed by the official recognition.

He said, “Our volunteer crew members undergo intensive training to ensure that they are ready to respond to any kind of emergency.

“I am immensely proud that my crew worked so hard in these conditions to bring about such a positive outcome.

“It is gratifying to know that the selfless efforts of the volunteer lifeboat crew members have received this recognition from the RNLI’s operations director.

“I am very proud of this station and all of its volunteers.”