A Newquay RNLI crew meeting was interrupted by a shout after a sharp-eyed volunteer spotted a sailing ship in difficulty.

Launch authority Phil Morris identified the yacht off Newquay harbour and made contact via VHF radio on Tuesday, March 26.

The skipper of the yacht confirmed that the yacht was indeed experiencing engine trouble and her fuel tanks were also empty.

Discussion took place in the crew room at the lifeboat station and a boat crew was selected from those volunteers who were attending the meeting, including helm, Ross King and helm and station trainer, Mark Morris. 

Both Ross and Mark are fishermen and have a lifetime of experience in the waters surrounding Newquay Bay, they agreed with Phil that the occupants of the yacht were in a precarious position and needed to be towed to a safer location further out of the bay and that local moorings could not be guaranteed as secure as they had not been used over the winter months. 

The charity’s Atlantic 85 was launched, being the best asset to deal with the worsening weather conditions and better suited to towing. 

Once on scene and with the swell increasing, Mark carefully boarded the yacht and supplied fuel.

He explained to the skipper that the yacht would need to anchor in deeper water due to the incoming storm.

Meanwhile Falmouth Coastguard were discussing the situation with Padstow Lifeboat, who were also tasked to attend the scene.

The Coastguard advised that the yacht needed to be towed to Padstow where it would be able to moor in the inner harbour and seek repairs. 

Newquay’s Atlantic crew assisted in transferring a Padstow crew member onto the yacht and the tow line from the Atlantic was swapped over to Padstow’s all-weather lifeboat, ‘Spirit of Padstow’.

Mark re-joined Ross and the rest of the crew back on the Atlantic and returned to Newquay Lifeboat Station at 10.20pm.

However, the occupants of the yacht and Padstow Lifeboat Volunteers had a long journey ahead, arriving back at Padstow at 4.15am. 

After investigation by the yacht’s skipper, it was discovered that the vessel had a split fuel line.