Yacht dragging mooring in adverse weather conditions

Date: Wednesday 20 October 2021

Location: Falmouth Inner Harboury

Weather: NW 9-10, Very Rough Sea and Moderate Swell, Poor Visibility, Overcast with Rain

All weather lifeboat: (Launched 19:01 / Returned 20:49) – Luke Wills (2nd Coxswain), Dave Nicoll, Nick Head, Will Allen, Andy Edwards, Chris Simpson, James Murray, Lloyd Barron

Inshore lifeboat: (Launched 19:00 / Returned 20:43) – Jamie Connolly (Helmsman), Joe Amps, Wendy Rabett, Cadan Harris


At 18:52, Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth All-Weather and Inshore Lifeboats be launched following a Mayday call from 12m yacht with two persons on board. The yacht had dragged its mooring and had become tangled with the bowsprit of a 30m sailing vessel, which was on a mooring off Kiln Quay in Falmouth Inner Harbour. The weather conditions had deteriorated rapidly with winds gusting in excess of 60 knots (70mph). The Pilot Boat had also responded to the distress call.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 19:00, with the All-Weather Lifeboat leaving its pontoon berth shortly afterwards at 19:01. Both Lifeboats made their way up the harbour, with the All-Weather Lifeboat arriving on scene at 19:07 and the Inshore Lifeboat at 19:09. The Pilot Boat was already on scene and was illuminating the yacht and bow of the sailing vessel. Having assessed the situation, the Inshore Lifeboat placed a crew member on board the yacht to help establish a tow from the All-Weather Lifeboat. The yacht was towed clear of the bowsprit and was taken into clear water where it was brought alongside the lifeboat. At 19:39 the Inshore Lifeboat was released to check other vessels in the harbour while the All-Weather Lifeboat manoeuvred the yacht alongside the sailing vessel.

The All-Weather Lifeboat and Inshore Lifeboat continued to check the Inner Harbour and Penryn River for any other vessels in difficulties. One unmanned yacht that had dragged its mooring was located close to the lifeboat pontoon, so the yacht was taken in tow by the All-Weather Lifeboat and was placed on the docks Ppontoon. Once it was confirmed that there were no more people at risk, both the All-Weather and Inshore Lifeboats were released to return to their station.

The Inshore Lifeboat was recovered onto its slipway at 20:43, with the All-Weather Lifeboat arriving back alongside its pontoon berth at 20:49, where they were both refuelled and made ready for service by 21:15.

The lifeboat crew were already at the lifeboat station preparing for an exercise when the initial Mayday call had been made. The weather had suddenly deteriorated over a very short period with winds reaching 60 knots and gusting to 80 knots, which combined with an extremely high tide led to several boats dragging their moorings. Thankfully no one was injured and any vessels that had moved were recovered the following day.

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