“Spirit of Guernsey” launched to escort sailing vessel

Photo by Tony Rive

At 1805 on Sunday 22nd September 2019, Guernsey Coastguard received a radio call from a 45ft sailing vessel with 3 crew on board asking for assistance. The vessel was 5.5 miles North West of the Hanois Lighthouse and her engine was overheating. Whilst the fresh westerly breeze was allowing her to sail, she was struggling in increasingly high seas.

Given fading light and deteriorating weather conditions, St Peter Port All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) “Spirit of Guernsey” launched at 1843 in order to locate the vessel and to escort her safely back to St Peter Port. The ALB arrived on scene at 1905 and after conducting a welfare check with the vessel and her crew, it was agreed that she would sail under escort to St Peter Port.

Shortly after 2100 as both casualty and lifeboat approached the pier heads, a tow was established due to the ongoing issue with the overheating engine. Once safely in the Harbour, the tow was handed over to Harbour staff and the lifeboat returned to station.

Lifeboats launched to sailing vessel with sick crewmember onboard

At 17:25 on Friday 13th September 2019, Guernsey Coastguard received a call from the 32ft sailing vessel ‘Second Wind’ with two persons onboard, one of which was suffering from extreme sea sickness.

 The vessel which was 4.2 nautical miles south west of St Martins point was struggling to make progress towards Guernsey due to her foresail being wrapped around her forestay and hanging in the water, the elderly skipper was unable to recover it himself.  

At 17:47 the St Peter Port All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) ‘Spirit of Guernsey’ was launched to assist the casualty vessel and the Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) launched 5 minutes later at 17:52 to aid in transferring the sick crewmember if required. 

Both Lifeboats arrived on scene at 18:02 and a lifeboat crew member was transferred to ‘Second Wind’ to assess the condition of the sick crewman and to assist the skipper in recovering his sail.

Once it was assessed that the sick crewman was in a stable condition the casualty vessel was escorted back to St Peter Port by the Lifeboats, arriving at the Harbour at 18:48.

Both Lifeboats were back on station by 19:00.

Guernsey Coastguard deals with 2 vessels in difficulty

At 1747 on Thursday 29th August 2019, Guernsey Coastguard received a call regarding a 22ft motor vessel experiencing engine trouble 6 miles northeast of Sark. The vessel had one person on board and was struggling to make progress back to Guernsey due to a fuel supply issue. Attempts by Guernsey Coastguard to gain assistance from other vessels in the area failed. With the tide running fast to the north in the Big Russel and with less than 2 hours to go to sunset, St Peter Port All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) was launched at 1845 to locate and assist the casualty vessel arriving on scene at 1910. A lifeboat crew member was transferred to the vessel and a tow was established. The lifeboat and casualty arrived safely back in St Peter Port at 2030.

Meanwhile, at around 1930 Guernsey Coastguard took a 999 call from the skipper of an 18ft motor vessel that had run out of fuel near Platte Beacon northeast of the entrance to St Sampson’s Harbour. She was unable to anchor and was drifting quickly with the tide. After establishing that the vessel was standing into danger, St Peter Port Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was paged and a MAYDAY Relay message was broadcast. 2 vessels in the area responded and proceeded quickly to the scene. Despite difficult conditions in the overfalls north of Platte Beacon, a towline was connected and the vessel was towed away from danger. The ILB was stood down and the vessel arrived safely back in St Sampson’s Harbour at 2030. Paramedics met the vessel on arrival and checked both crew over.

Following the 2 incidents, Guernsey Coastguard asks that all boat owners make sure that boat they and their vessel are fit to go to sea. Duty SAR Mission Coordinator James Way said “it is imperative that vessels are completely seaworthy and have all the necessary safety and communications equipment on board. It is equally important that skippers know how to operate all of the equipment carried and that they have the appropriate experience to safely navigate our challenging local waters”.

AIS tracking by digimap

Lifeboat Launched to Assist Yacht “Dabbler”

At 0620 on Wednesday 21st August 2019, Guernsey Coastguard received a PAN PAN call from 35ft yacht “Dabbler” with 3 persons onboard reporting engine failure approximately 3 miles north west of Lihou Island. The vessel was in no immediate danger however, she was making slow progress under sail due to light winds and was concerned about her ability to berth without an engine on arrival in St Peter Port.

Dabbler was asked to contact Guernsey Coastguard every 30 minutes with a progress update however, after an hour, she had failed to check in. Subsequent calls to the vessel failed and given the fact that the tide was shortly due to turn to the north, St Peter Port All Weather Lifeboat “Spirit of Guernsey” was launched at 0815 to locate the yacht.

Search plans were prepared by Guernsey Coastguard however, once in the vicinity of the Hanois Lighthouse, Spirit of Guernsey was able to quickly locate the vessel. She had made better progress under sail than anticipated and communications were reestablished with the Coastguard. Once everything was confirmed to be OK onboard, the Lifeboat was stood down and Dabbler continued under sail to St Peter Port.