Lifeboat crew rescues historic ship in Sovereign Harbour

Eastbourne lifeboat crew was called out in gale force winds at midnight last night (Wednesday October 4) to help a historic 105-tonne sailing ship in trouble off Sovereign Harbour.

Thursday, 5th October 2017, 4:16 pm
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 11:35 pm
Eastbourne lifeboat was called to help a 102-foot-long ship in Sovereign Harbour at midnight last night (October 4)
Eastbourne lifeboat was called to help a 102-foot-long ship in Sovereign Harbour at midnight last night (October 4)

The 102-foot-long ship the Lady of Avenel, which had set sail from Poole in Dorset, had dropped anchor off Langney Point to deal with an engine failure when the anchor began dragging, putting the ship in danger of hitting rocks.

The wind forecast was set to increase to gale force, according to a spokesperson for Eastbourne Lifeboat Crew, so the skipper requested support from the coastguard and Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat Diamond Jubilee was sent out.

“With expert boat handling, Coxswain Mark Sawyer manoeuvred the lifeboat to take the strain off the anchor chains,” said the lifeboat crew spokesperson.

The combined length of the ship and the lifeboat was bigger than the harbour locks, so the team decided to temporarily moor the ship at the permanent buoys outside the harbour.

After more than two hours of tense and strenuous work, the brigantine square rigger ship was eventually made safe on the lifeboat moorings,” said the team’s spokesperson.

“The skipper commended the professionalism and skilful conduct of the volunteer crew before settling down to safely ride out the storm,” the spokesperson said.