Baltimore RNLI brought 13 people safely ashore after their yacht got into difficulty in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday 9 August), 26 miles south east of Baltimore.
The volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.05am that a yacht participating in the famous Fastnet Race had lost its rigging, 26 miles south east of Baltimore with 13 people on board.
The lifeboat with seven crew on board, proceeded to the scene, arriving at 3.31am. The rod rigging on the 45ft yacht was still standing, however part of the outer rigging had failed and the mast was in danger of coming down. The crew of the yacht informed the lifeboat crew that their fuel had been contaminated and they were running on a small container of spare fuel which they estimated would only give them an hour's motoring time.
Conditions at the time were choppy with a north westerly force 4 wind and 1-1.5m swell. The crew on the yacht agreed that a tow would be best, so while the lifeboat stood by, they secured the rig as best they could. As soon as the lifeboat sent over the tow line, the engine of the yacht cut out. The tow was established and the lifeboat started to bring the yacht back to Baltimore.
During the tow, due to the unstable nature of the mast, the lifeboat crew advised everyone to stay below deck in case the mast came down. The lifeboat towed the casualty vessel to the fishing pier in Baltimore Harbour, arriving at 10am.
There were seven volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Kieran Cotter, Mechanic Pat Collins and crew members Jerry Smith, Brian McSweeney, Don O'Donovan, Sean McCarthy and Eoin Ryan. Providing assistance at the boathouse were Aidan Bushe, Colin Rochford and Ryan O'Mahony.
Speaking following the callout, Kieran Cotter, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Coxswain said: âThankfully the rigging held and the experienced crew aboard the yacht managed to do the best that they could do to avoid injury and to secure and preserve the yacht's rig under difficult circumstances.'