COASTGUARDS, a rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor and the Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat were scrambled yesterday (Wednesday) after a French sailing boat sent out a Mayday signal saying it was drifting off Lynmouth. Swansea Coastguard made contact with

COASTGUARDS, a rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor and the Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat were scrambled yesterday (Wednesday) after a French sailing boat sent out a Mayday signal saying it was drifting off Lynmouth.Swansea Coastguard made contact with the 6.5-metre vessel, Capmonde, which had dismasted two miles off the coast.Because communications were poor initially, an exact location for the disabled vessel could not be ascertained.Members of Lynmouth Coastguard Rescue Team and the Exmoor Sector Manager were sent to a vantage point at the Valley of the Rocks.An RAF rescue helicopter from Chivenor joined the search and the Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat was launched.Lynmouth Coastguards spotted the vessel from the cliff top and the helicopter made contact with the vessel, establishing that the two French nationals on board were safe and well.The Ilfracombe lifeboat arrived on the scene and took the boat in tow, handing over to the Mumbles Lifeboat on the journey to Swansea.Steve Matthews, the Swansea Coastguard Watch manager, said: "This incident clearly highlights the importance of carrying a Marine Band VHF radio whenever you are out at sea."The casualty vessel was able to broadcast a distress message in an area where mobile phone coverage is not very reliable and they otherwise might not have been able to call for help.