Littlehampton RNLI crews assisted a stranded yacht yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, August 28).
The D Class lifeboat Ray of Hope launched just before 2.45pm to help the vessel that had been left high and dry after running aground just outside Littlehampton Harbour.
HM Coastguard tasked Littlehampton RNLI to launch following a request for assistance from a yacht located near the eastern wall of the harbour entrance.
The yacht had attempted to enter the harbour, but as the tide fell it became grounded.
The station’s D Class lifeboat Ray of Hope was then launched to assist.
Once it had been ascertained that there were no injuries nor health concerns for the 31-foot yacht’s two crew, the RNLI volunteers fixed a tow line in order to assist the grounded vessel into deeper water.
However, the tide was still falling and the yacht was stuck fast.
The RNLI said with low water at 4.22pm there was no option other than to wait for the tide to rise again so that the yacht could be refloated and its crew elected to stay on board.
To ensure the vessel was safe Ray of Hope returned to Littlehampton lifeboat station to fetch a kedge anchor that was used to secure the yacht as the tide rose.
Ray of Hope again returned to the station allowing the RNLI crew some respite before deploying the station’s Atlantic 85 Class lifeboat Renee Sherman at around 7pm.
A stern tow of the yacht was established and it was refloated. However, the yacht appeared to have damaged its rudder so the tow was re-established and the yacht was towed in to the Littlehampton harbour moorings. Renee Sherman stood down at 8.30pm.
Ivan Greer, helm of Ray of Hope, said: “When we arrived at the harbour entrance we could see the yacht was grounding and due to the falling tide establishing an effective tow was not possible.
“We made the vessel secure and decided to refloat the yacht on the rising tide with a guiding tow.
“This proved to be successful, but the yacht’s steering was found to be comprised so we established a third tow to bring the boat in to harbour.
“Fortunately the sea conditions were slight with a moderate south-westerly breeze, but it was still hot work in the summer sunshine.”