Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat was launched on Friday night (May 30) to assist a 28ft yacht with engine failure.
The yacht, which had three people on board, was part of a flotilla that had set sail for Fecamp, in Northern France, at 4.00am on Friday morning.
However, just 18 miles from the French coast, the vessel suffered a mechanical failure and the decision was made to return to Sovereign Harbour under sail for repairs.
The crew alerted the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) at Dover Coastguard to inform them of their change of plan and they were asked to make contact on an hourly basis so the MRCC could monitor their progress.
During the course of the evening, communications were broken and eventually lost altogether. Fortunately, P&O cruise liner Azura was in the area on passage to Belgium and was able to relay radio transmissions between MRCC and the stricken yacht.
With the yacht attempting to cross the busy shipping lanes in the dark with slight winds and a tired crew, the decision was taken for Eastbourne lifeboat to be launched at 9.45pm to assist.
The yacht was located at 10.40pm about 15 miles off Beachy Head and taken under tow for the long trip back to Harbour arriving at Sovereign at approximately 02.00am on Saturday morning.