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Lone 60-year-old sailor rescued amid storm-force conditions

The yachtsman’s VHF radio was washed overboard before his rescue, which saw the RNLI lifeboat spending 12 hours at sea.

Image: RNLI

A LIFEBOAT SPENT over 12 hours at sea rescuing a lone sailor after his yacht had become devastated in storm-force conditions this weekend.

The Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was launched yesterday morning when Valentia Coastguard Radio was asked to assist a yacht in difficulty off Mizen Head in west Cork.

The sailor, in his 60s, had been in regular radio contact with Valentia Coastguard radio until yesterday morning, when his VHF radio was washed overboard in a storm.

He activated an emergency beacon, prompting the Castletownbere lifeboat, under the command of coxswain Brian O’Driscoll, to launch at 8am.

The lifeboat, the Annette Hutton, located the casualty at 10.40am 50 miles south-west of Castletownbere.

The Coastguard helicopter was also on scene amid force 8/9 winds and 30-foot swell.

RESCUE 20.08.16 (1) (1) Source: RNLI

Concerned

The yacht was taken under tow and the lifeboat proceeded slowly to Castletownbere in challenging sea conditions, after being at sea for 12 and a half hours.

Early into the tow lifeboat crew became concerned about the wellbeing of the sailor and  crew managed to transfer him to the lifeboat.

The sailor thanked all involved for ‘saving his life’. He said:

Only for the lifeboat, things would have ended up very badly today.

Lifeboat operations manager Tony O’Sullivan said:

The coxswain and crew are to be complimented on today’s rescue – they demonstrated skill, seamanship and endurance during what was a long and challenging day.

The eight-metre yacht, with one person on board, left the Azores in early August and ran into difficulties yesterday 45 miles south of Mizen head.

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