Search for sailor who had fallen overboard from Yawl Kate

Inshore lifeboat crew: Diane Bush (Helmsman), Alsitair Heane
All-weather lifeboat crew: Jonathan Blakeston (Coxswain), Luke Wills, Dave Nicoll, Andy Jenkin, Claire Angove, Neil Capper, Jack Chuter
Location: Off Coverack
Shout Date: 03/08/2015 – 15:04
Weather:SW 4, Slight Sea and Moderate Swell, Good Visibility, Sunny Periods

At 14:55 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth All Weather Lifeboat be launched after a passing yacht found the 60ft Yawl Kate with no one on board sailing in circles off Coverack. The Lizard All Weather Lifeboat and a Rescue Helicopter from the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose had also been tasked to assist.

The All Weather Lifeboat left its pontoon berth at 15:04 and headed out across Falmouth Bay and commenced a search towards the Manacle Buoy arriving at the buoy at 15:30. Falmouth’s Inshore Lifeboat was also tasked to assist at 15:08, launching from its slipway at 15:15. The yacht towed the yawl into Coverack Bay and with the help of a local boat it was placed on a mooring off the harbour. The Lizard lifeboat crew went on board the yawl to try and obtain additional information which was then passed to the Coastguard.

At 15:40 Falmouth All Weather Lifeboat was tasked with carrying out a search pattern to cover the area west of the Manacle Buoy and as far south as Lizard Point while the Lizard Lifeboat was tasked to carry out a search to the south and west of Lizard Point. The Inshore Lifeboat was tasked with carrying out a shoreline search from Lowland Point to Cadgwith while the helicopter carried out an extensive search of both the coastline and further out to sea. The Porthoustock and Mullion Coastguard Cliff Rescue Teams were also tasked to assist with the shoreline search.

At 17:51 a passing yacht spotted a person in the water off Chynhalls Point near Coverack. Both Falmouth Lifeboat and the Helicopter proceeded towards the location. The casualty was recovered from the water by a local boat before being winched into the helicopter at 18:00 and taken to Treliske Hospital. The search was then continued until 18:34 when the coastguard confirmed that the casualty who had been recovered was the missing person, so all units were stood down with Falmouth Lifeboat being tasked with towing the Yawl back to Falmouth. By 19:10 the yawl was under tow and having arrived back in Falmouth it was placed on a mooring in the harbour at 20:30, the lifeboat being released to return to its station at 20:40.

The All Weather Lifeboat was back alongside its pontoon berth by 20:48 where the lifeboat was refuelled and was ready for service by 21:10.

It was later confirmed that the sailor had died and our thoughts go out to his family and friends. The 60ft Yawl had been on passage from the Azores to Falmouth. Its skipper who had built the Kate was a very experienced sailor having had carried out seventeen Atlantic crossings and will be sadly missed.