Yacht trip turns to rescue mission

Bob Jeffery's yacht
Bob Jeffery's yacht

IT WAS a busman’s holiday for two Eastbourne Lifeboat volunteers when their yachting trip to Dieppe turned into a rescue.

Eastbourne coxswain Mark Sawyer and RNLI press officer Bob Jeffery thought they were leaving Sovereign Harbour early on Friday morning (June 10) aboard Bob’s yacht Tortola Sunset to enjoy a quiet weekend sailing across the English Channel to Dieppe.

Instead, they became involved in the rescue of a stranded boat at the harbour entrance.

Having reached the harbour entrance, Bob and Mark encountered a yacht which had lost engine power and was in danger of being swept onto the rocks of the harbour arm.

Mark and Bob offered assistance which was readily accepted by the two people aboard the nine metre yacht.

The two lifeboatmen towed and returned the yacht to the harbour locks. Later the same day, the remaining lifeboat crew were requested to launch by Dover Coastguard after a report from a shore side resident that a windsurfer was in difficulties in Eastbourne Bay.

The resident, a retired lifeboat crew member, realised the wind surfer had lost his sail 800 metres offshore.

Lifeboat crews arrived at the scene but were unable to find the casualty.

Crewman Andy Chatton was put ashore to question members of the public but had no success and Dover Coastguard later confirmed the wind surfer had made it safely ashore.