Two shouts in one night for Ilfracombe lifeboat

Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat

Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat - Credit: Neil Perrin

The Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat was called out to emergencies twice on Saturday night (August 14).  

The first time was at 8.34pm to respond to a mayday distress signal and the second time to assist the Minehead RNLI lifeboat following a report of people cut off by tide.  

The Appledore RNLI Tamar class all-weather lifeboat Mollie Hunt was initially tasked following a radio mayday distress call from a yacht, two and a half miles north east from Lundy Island. 

The Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter was also tasked to search for the yacht. The Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat was paged 15 minutes later to assist with the search as the nature of the distress was unknown. 

The Ilfracombe Shannon class all-weather lifeboat (ALB) The Barry and Peggy High Foundation was launched by the volunteer crew just after 8.30pm. The lifeboat quickly left the harbour and made its way out to Lundy at full speed on a slight sea and with a one knot westerly wind. 


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The yacht was found by a commercial tanker who had received the mayday relay call from the Coastguard and had turned around to look for the vessel. 

The tanker found the yacht with the man onboard shining a torch to attract attention. Once the position of the yacht was known, the Coastguard helicopter then arrived. 

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The Ilfracombe ALB arrived on scene 40 minutes later, a few minutes after the Appledore lifeboat.  

The small yacht which had sailed out of Instow, with a man and his dog onboard, was found to have broken its rudder and had lost steering, and the although the man was able to make the DSC distress call, his radio communications had also failed, and he had been unable to speak to the Coastguard. 

A line was secured to the yacht and the Appledore lifeboat took the yacht under tow to return to Instow.  

The Ilfracombe lifeboat had begun to make the return trip back to harbour when the crew were paged again by the Coastguard, this time to back up the Minehead RNLI Atlantic 85 lifeboat crew who had launched following a report of several people cut off by tide at Sillery Sands near Lynmouth. 

The lifeboat was stood down just before it arrived at Lynmouth as the people were found to be fishermen who had intended to be cut off, to go night fishing. Both lifeboats then returned to station, and the Ilfracombe lifeboat arrived back at Ilfracombe harbour at 11.00pm to be recovered and cleaned ready for the next service.

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