Yachtsman rescued after sailing the wrong way around Holy Island

A lifeboat crew were called out to help a lone yachtman in difficulty off the Northumberland coast

A yachtsman ran aground sailing down the wrong side of Holy Island
A yachtsman ran aground sailing down the wrong side of Holy Island

A lone yachtsman on his first voyage in a new boat had to be rescued by a lifeboat crew after sailing on the wrong side of Holy Island.

The vessel ran aground on a sandbank between the coast and the island in an area which is too shallow for any vessel and was in danger of flooding on the rising tide.

The crewman has just bought the 19ft yacht at Amble and was on his way to Berwick when the accident happened.

It is understood he was from Edinburgh and was unfamiliar with the tricky passage around Holy Island.

Rescuers said the man was not equipped with a VHF Radio and only had a mobile phone which was of limited use in an emergency.

Ian Clayton, lifeboat operations manager at Seahouses, said: “The guy was not familiar with the coastline. He had collected the boat from Amble and was in the process of sailing to Berwick when it hit a sandbank.

“He had been given navigation advice at Amble after picking up the vessel which he thinks he misunderstood.

“The sea between Holy Island and the mainland is shallow and should be avoided. He should have sailed on the seaward side.

“He did not have a VHF radio. He was carrying a mobile phone but we would urge anyone who sails to carry a VHF Radio because you can speak to local boats and the lifeboat can use direction-finding equipment to locate the vessel in case of difficulty.”

The drama happened on Saturday morning when Humber Coastguard contacted the lifeboat station at Seahouses to advise that the yacht had ran aground off St Cuthbert Island.

Local coastguards at Holy Island reported the vessel was well aground and listing and there was a danger of flooding as the tide turned.

“The Border Force immigration boat just happened to be on the area but could not get close enough to help,” Mr Clayton said.

“It was agreed to launch the Seahouses Inshore Lifeboat on the rising tide so that a line could be attached to the yacht as it refloated, and assistance given to the sole crewman to safely refloat the vessel.

“The yacht was safely refloated without incident, and towed to Holy Island Harbour, where the yacht skipper met local shore based Coastguard Rescue Officers.

“The vessel was checked for possible damage and to ensure that the hull was sound. No significant damage was found.

“Once the yacht was found to be safe, the yacht skipper decided to continue his passage to Berwick, and was escorted into deep water to the east of Holy Island by the lifeboat.”


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