Three back-to-back yacht shouts saw Angle RNLI spend over 10 hours at sea during Storm Betty with Force 10 winds gusting 56 knots and 6-metre waves.
Angle All-Weather Lifeboat was paged for an immediate launch at 6.30pm on August 18 following a Mayday call from a yacht drifting ashore beneath Dale Fort with one person onboard.
The lifeboat made best speed in freshening conditions. A Port Authority pilot vessel and a Svitzer tug, which were in the process of sailing an oil tanker, both diverted to offer assistance.
Upon arrival on scene, the crew found the vessel against the shore partially submerged with the single occupant still onboard. The pilot vessel and crew had managed to get a line on but, with the yacht unsalvageable, there was nothing more they could do. The Y boat was launched immediately to head in and pluck the casualty from the yacht. In strong winds and a difficult sea state, the Y boat was manoeuvred in close and the casualty taken onboard.
As the Y boat was in the process of transferring the casualty onto the lifeboat, the crew received a second tasking to another yacht aground just around the corner off Dale Beach. With one person onboard, the yacht had come away from the pontoon and was in difficulty. Dale Coastguard Rescue Team was on scene and observing.
The lifeboat made its way in and, using the Y boat, attached a tow and began to take the yacht into deeper water. Owing to the conditions and limited marina spaces, the lifeboat began towing the yacht up the Haven towards Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock.
However, as the crew were rounding Weir Spit they received their third tasking of the night. A yacht around 30 miles south west of St Ann’s Head had issued a Mayday call when they lost both sails and steering.
With some quick thinking, the crew altered course into the moorings at Hazelbeach and the first casualty was transferred onto the yacht from the second shout and handed over to the crew of the Y boat to safely secure and transfer the casualties ashore. In the meantime, the All-Weather Lifeboat began its near two hour journey out to the third casualty.
Making best speed in difficult conditions, the crew battled a Force 10 with winds gusting 56 knots and 6-meter seas.
A Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from Newquay and Appledore All-Weather Lifeboat had also been tasked.
Nearly two hours later, the lifeboat arrived on scene with the yacht and, after assessing the situation, the crew passed a tow and began the long journey back towards Milford Haven. At this point Appledore Lifeboat was stood down, but the helicopter continued to shadow the tow for a brief while before standing down.
Following a near six-hour tow in horrendous conditions, where the crew had to reset the tow on three occasions, the lifeboat and casualty vessel finally arrived at the safety of Hobbs Point and the yacht and its relieved crew were secured alongside by 4.30am the following morning, August 19.