Mayday distress call from Yacht Defiance

Inshore lifeboat crew: Sandy Procter (Helmsman), Tom Bird, Elliot Holman
All-weather lifeboat crew: Jonathan Blakeston (Coxswain), Carl Beardmore, Dave Nicoll, Diane Bush, Adam West, Nick Head, Jack Chuter, Jake Ingleby
Location: Off the Manacle Rocks
Shout Date: 24/07/2015 – 07:13
Weather:E 8, Rough Sea and Moderate Swell, Poor Visibility, Overcast with Heavy Rain


At 07:08 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat be launched to assist the single handed 20ft Yacht Defiance which had issued a Mayday distress call reporting that its sail was blown out and that its engine had failed off the Manacle Rocks.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 07:13 and having rounded Pendennis Point headed across Falmouth Bay. At 07:16 in view of the prevailing conditions and the fact that the radio communication with the yacht had been lost the Inshore Lifeboat requested that the All Weather Lifeboat be launched to also assist. The Inshore Lifeboat arrived on scene off the Manacle Buoy at 07:35 and commenced a search of the immediate area. The All Weather Lifeboat left its berth at 07:25 and headed across Falmouth Bay checking on any targets on the way before arriving on scene off the Manacles at 07:53.

With no immediate sign of the yacht the Inshore Lifeboat was tasked to search the shoreline between Porthkerris and Coverack while the All Weather Lifeboat carried out a search up wind from the Manacles. At 08:46 the Inshore Lifeboat located the yacht close to the rocks off Coverack and immediately took the vessel in tow heading out to sea. The All Weather Lifeboat headed to the position and once on scene at 08:54 the Inshore Lifeboat dropped its tow and placed one of its crew on board the yacht. By 09:25 the All Weather Lifeboat had the yacht in tow and set course back to Falmouth with the Inshore Lifeboat providing safety cover. At 11:07 the lifeboat and yacht arrived off Falmouth Docks and the tow was transferred back to the Inshore Lifeboat which towed the yacht to the Port Pendennis Marina where it was safely secured at 11:20. Having helped secure the yacht and recovered its crewman the Inshore Lifeboat was released to return to its station at 11:35.

The Inshore Lifeboat was back on its slipway at 11:39 where it was refuelled, rehoused and ready for service by 12:00.

The yacht had been on passage from France to Falmouth when it had succumbed to the adverse weather conditions. Its skipper had issued a Mayday distress call and had then lost contact with the Coastguard. The RFA Argus which was at anchor in Falmouth Bay had assisted identifying targets with its specialist radar. The Porthoustock Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team were tasked to assist with the search and at 08:34 the Lizard Lifeboat was also paged to assist but the launch was cancelled when the Inshore Lifeboat located the yacht off Coverack.