The alarm was raised at 11:45hrs on Saturday (12th September) by members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade who observed the 6m yacht become grounded on Sandhaven beach, South Shields, in the strong South South Easterly winds.
The SSVLB members attempted to assist the lone yachtsman but were unable to do so and requested the immediate launch of Tynemouth lifeboat.
The inshore lifeboat with three volunteer crew members launched soon after and sped to the scene, arriving after just two minutes.
Volunteer crew member Mark Taylor went ashore through the surf and made contact with the SSVLB. He then assessed the damage to the stern of the yacht finding that the rudder had snapped.
Mark then boarded the yacht which was made difficult by the surf knocking it on its side on the beach. The yacht’s skipper was having difficulty just staying in the cockpit and was unable to assist.
Once aboard the vessel, the other lifeboat crew members passed Mark the tow rope and once he had secured it the lifeboat was able to drag the yacht round and off the beach.
The strong wind and incoming tide were hampering the crew’s efforts so they radioed the lifeboat station and requested that more crew members come across with the station boarding boat – a former D-class inshore lifeboat – to help with maneuvering the yacht as the water was too shallow for the all weather lifeboat.
The yacht was soon out of danger but its rudder had snapped and it was taking on water so a crew member was put on board as a precaution and to assist the yachtsman, while she was towed to Royal Quays Marina where she could be immediately lifted out of the water.
The boarding boat accompanied the inshore lifeboat and assisted maneuvering the yacht through the marina lock and onto the hoist.
Once the yacht and her skipper were safe the lifeboats passed back through the lock and returned to station, arriving an hour after launching.
Lifeboats: D-693 Mark Noble and BB-512.