Larne RNLI rescued a man who got into difficulty in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday 12 October) after his 30ft yacht sustained engine failure in the dark of night.
The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 2.30am following a VHF Mayday to Belfast Coastguard from a sailor who encountered problems when his yacht broke down and he was unsure of his location.
The lifeboat immediately launched under Coxswain Frank Healy and with six crew members onboard and made its way to the lat long position the sailor had provided which was six miles east of Larne.
Weather conditions at the time were rough with south westerly winds gusting 20 knots.
The lifeboat arrived on scene approximately 15-20 minutes later and instantly located the sailor who was wearing a lifejacket and was safe and well onboard his boat. He had left Loch Ryan in Scotland and was on passage to Bangor when he got into difficulty.
Having assessed the situation, a decision was made to transfer two crew members onboard the yacht to establish a tow and to bring the vessel to the nearest safe port at Larne.
Due to the weather conditions, when the lifeboat was approaching Larne, a decision was made to request the assistance of the station’s inshore lifeboat to help with mooring the yacht on arrival. The yacht and sailor were brought to safety at approximately 6am where the man was then brought to the lifeboat station and made comfortable.
Speaking following the call out, Phil Ford-Hutchinson, Larne RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said:
"The sailor did the right thing this morning in raising the alarm when he knew he was in difficulty. His engine had broken down, he was unsure where he was in the dark and weather conditions were not great. Despite the time, our crew responded in numbers without hesitation and were delighted to help and we wish the man well on his onward journey.
"We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared, check the weather conditions and always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for your activity. Let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back and always carry a suitable means of communication such as a VHF radio or mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. Should you get into difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard."