The Holyhead Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre requested Lytham St Annes All-weather Lifeboat (ALB) launch at 6.48pm on Saturday 23 October 2021 to assess the situation for a 30 foot long (9.14m) yacht with two people on board.
The vessel, motor sailing from Glasson Dock to Wirral, was disabled near the Lennox Gas Platform in the Irish Sea. With engine failure and electrical problems leaving her with no navigation lights, the yacht was drifting and in urgent need of assistance.
The Lytham St Annes Station’s All-weather relief Lifeboat Reg (13-07), on duty while the Barbara Anne was away, was launched with Station Coxswain Tom Stuart in command, and set out in Southerly wind of Force 5 but a moderate sea.
As the Lifeboat approached the yacht’s reported position, the rig support vessel Vos Endurance launched her daughter boat to assist in locating the blacked-out casualty and then illuminated the scene.
The Lytham Lifeboat was alongside the casualty at 8.05pm and after checking both occupants were in good health and there was no chance of them resuming their passage unaided, the crew passed a tow line and proceeded south at 6 knots (6 nautical miles an hour) towards the Mersey Estuary.
Hoylake RNLI lifeboat and her volunteer crew were then requested by the Coastguard to launch at 8.44pm to rendezvous with the Lytham Lifeboat near the Q2 buoy in the River Mersey and take over the yacht’s tow.
Hoylake’s Shannon class ALB Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood (13-06) launched at 8.56pm and the lifeboats met just north of the Q2 buoy. The tow was transferred from Lytham to Hoylake ALB at 9.45pm and a Hoylake crew member boarded the yacht to ensure the tow line was safely connected, allowing the Lytham boat to return to her Station to be recovered, checked, refuelled and cleaned off before the crew could return home at 1.15am (24 October).
Hoylake Lifeboat then continued towing the yacht south and into the River Dee, heading towards the moorings at West Kirby Sailing Club. West Kirby RNLI’s inshore D class lifeboat Seahorse (D715) and her volunteer crew were paged at 11.32pm to take over the final leg of the tow. West Kirby Lifeboat launched and met Hoylake Lifeboat southwest of Little Eye in the River Dee.
The tow line was transferred to the inshore lifeboat and Hoylake Lifeboat was stood down to return to station. Two West Kirby crew members had now boarded the yacht to assist with securing the vessel on a mooring at the local Sailing Club. Once the yacht was safely moored, the casualties and RNLI crew members were transferred to the lifeboat and were brought ashore to West Kirby.