A CATAMARAN with three crew on board was dramatically rescued by an Isle of Wight lifeboat team in near gale conditions and rough seas yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.
Bembridge Sailing Club sailing secretary, Mike Samuelson, who is also RNLI Bembridge Lifeboat operations manager, took a rigid inflatable boat out of the harbour to try to assist assist the catamaran, the 15-metre Dazzla — but weather conditions were too severe and Bembridge Lifeboat was launched.
The offshore lifeboat launched at 3.30pm after the yacht’s anchor "dragged" in winds gusting to about 35mph, Force 7, and heavy breaking surf outside Bembridge Harbour.
Dazzla was in too shallow water for the lifeboat to pass a tow so a rocket line was fired from about 80 metres away.
Once a tow line was attached, Dazzla was pulled from the beach to deeper water in the harbour channel, then towed into Bembridge Harbour. The operation lasted about one-and-a-half hours.
The lifeboat was forced to seek a berth in Portsmouth harbour until 10pm because weather was too severe for it to return to the lifeboat station.
The coastguard helicopter, which was in the area on a training exercise, landed at St Helen's Duver and stood by in case it was needed.
In a separate incident, the Bembridge RNLI inshore lifeboat was called-out at 11.40am to the trimaran, Kittiwake, with three crew on board, which was in danger of being washed ashore.
It was attempting to leave Bembridge Harbour, but with insufficient power from her engine motoring into winds gusting to force six, heavy rain, an incoming tide and with 1.5m breaking waves she was forced toward shore.
The inshore lifeboat was alongside within seven minutes after launching and took her in tow so the crew were able to set their sails and to return to Portsmouth Harbour.
The Dazzla beached at Bembridge. Picture by Chris Thwaites.
The Dazzla was rescued by Bembridge RNLI. Picture by Chris Thwaites.