Gaff Rigged Sailing Boat sinking with persons in the water

Date: Saturday 12 August 2017

Location: Off Governor Buoy, Carrick Roads

Weather: WNW 4, Slight Sea and Swell, Good Visibility, Sunny

Inshore lifeboat: (Launched 15:24 / Released 16:24 – Jonathan Hackwell (Helmsman), Jamie Connoly, Jamie Wakefield


At 15:21 Falmouth Coastguard requested the launch of Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat following reports of a sailing boat sinking near Governor Buoy with three people in the water. Other boats in the area also went to assist.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 15:24 and arrived on scene at 15:27. The sailing boat had sunk with only the top of its mast and sails showing above the water. It was soon confirmed that the three occupants had been recovered from the water by the Race Committee Boat Ianthe and no injuries had been sustained. The Ianthe took the casualties ashore in St Mawes while the Inshore Lifeboat was requested by the Coastguard to stand by the sunken yacht until the arrival of the Harbour Masters launch. The lifeboat crew recovered the yachts spinnaker from the yachts mast to reduce the risk of it being driven into the deep water channel. Once the Harbour Master arrived on scene the Inshore Lifeboat proceeded at 16:11 to St Mawes to drop off the spinnaker and other equipment and to confirm the casualty’s details.

Having completed this at 16:24 the Inshore Lifeboat was released and departed St Mawes to attend the Helford Passage Regatta.

The gaff rigged Falmouth 18 open sailing boat had been taking part in the Falmouth Week racing when it had broached and took on water sinking very quickly. The Inshore Lifeboat crew had been at the lifeboat station preparing to attend the Helford Passage Regatta when the pagers had gone off so were able to launch quickly and were on scene within seven minutes of the initial call.