Person trapped under capsized sailing dinghy

Crew: Neil Capper (Helmsman), Tom Bird, Jack Chuter
Location: Off Messack Buoy in the Carrick Roads
Shout Date: 05/08/2015 – 11:43
Weather:S 4, Slight Sea and Swell, Fair Visibility, Overcast with Showers

At 11:36 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat be launched following a report of a sailor trapped under a capsized sailing dinghy near the Messack Buoy in the Carrick Roads. A Rescue Helicopter from the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose was also tasked. A number of vessels also responded to the Coastguards VHF radio broadcasts.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 11:43 and headed up the Carrick Roads arriving on scene at 11:50. Two yachts were standing by the capsized dinghy and it was confirmed that the trapped sailor had been released and was trying to right the dinghy. The two other crew from the dinghy had already been taken on board one of the yachts. Once it was confirmed that all the occupants were safe and did not need any medical attention the Rescue Helicopter which was hovering overhead was released. The Inshore Lifeboat helped to right the dinghy and then took it in tow, picking up the other two crew from the yacht before heading to Restronguet Weir where the dinghy and its occupants were safely landed at 12:15, the Inshore Lifeboat being released to return to its station.

The Inshore Lifeboat was back on its slipway at 12:35 where it was refuelled, rehoused and ready for service by 12:52.

When the dinghy capsized the sailor’s buoyancy aid had become caught on one of the jib sheets so as the dinghy turned turtle it held him down so that he was struggling to keep his head above water. The skipper of a nearby yacht went to assist in his inflatable tender and supplied a knife so that the sailor could free himself. While the crew had been wearing buoyancy aids designed for dinghy sailing, the other sailor had been wearing a wakeboarding buoyancy aid with multiple buckles which he had been unable to release.