VIDEO: Sailor rescued in Atlantic storm after yacht loses mast

HM Coastguard helped rescue a sailor from a damaged yacht HM Coastguard helped rescue a sailor from a damaged yacht. Photo courtesy of RAF

A sailor has been rescued from the Atlantic Ocean, two days after his yacht lost its mast in stormy conditions.

HM Coastguard’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) received two distress beacon alerts from the yacht, which was drifting 700 miles west of Ireland, on Friday evening (14 October).

The vessel had extensive damage and was drifting in very poor weather conditions.

Thanks to the two beacons onboard however, the coastguard was swiftly able to locate the yacht and begin the search and rescue mission.

A request was made to the RAF to deploy two aircraft, which identified the stricken yacht using coordinates provided by the JRCC, at around 8.20am on Saturday (15 October).

At the scene, the aircraft provided communications with the vessel. At the same time, the coastguard was broadcasting to all shipping within 300 miles, and three vessels responded, altering their courses to intercept the yacht.

After four unsuccessful attempts by another merchant vessel overnight, the survivor, an American national and experienced sailor, was rescued just after 6.30am on Sunday (16 October) by motor tanker Amax Anthem.

AF Poseidon P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and an Atlas A400M assisted with the search and rescue
AF Poseidon P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and an Atlas A400M assisted with the search and rescue

“This was a lengthy and complex search and rescue mission coordinated by the JRCC,” says Rob Priestley, JRCC Commander. “We’d like to pay tribute to the excellent seamanship and skill of the crew of the Amax Anthem and the Patricia V and to thank other vessels for responding – this was a challenging rescue in difficult conditions.

“The involvement of the RAF aircraft was also a crucial element of this operation. Because the sailor was carrying two emergency position indicating beacons (EPIRBS) we were able to inform the RAF where the vessel would be. The signals from the EPIRBs were the only means we had of knowing where the sailor was and that he was in distress. All other communication methods had been destroyed during the event that led to his dismasting.

“One of the most important elements of this incident was the two EPIRBs. Without these we would not have known that the sailor was in difficulty, let alone where he was. I’d really encourage anyone who sets to sea to carry an EPIRB and to register it with their national authority – in the UK that is HM Coastguard. An up-to-date registration means we have additional information to help with any rescue that’s required.”

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2 responses to “VIDEO: Sailor rescued in Atlantic storm after yacht loses mast”

  1. Antonio Passos says:

    Again we see that the boat was left for a life raft too soon. We see the boat left alone and floating after the storm.
    My rule is only leave my boat for a life raft when it is sinking without chances to save it. A floating boat is always a better option to a life raft.

  2. Rich says:

    That’s not a P8 Poseidon (which is a Boeing 737), looks more like a C-130.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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