RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) was launched at just before 6pm last night at the request of UK (Solent) Coastguard to locate and assist a 32ft sailing boat whose engine had broken down and was unable to manoeuvre under sail in the light airs.
The location was vague as the yacht’s portable GPS had run out of power before the full position had been registered. There was then something of a wild goose chase as the Alfred Albert Williams attempted to locate the ‘Green Pepper’ which was being sailed single handed by a Frenchman.
It was not helped by the fact that for some unknown reason only the Coastguard was able to communicate with the yacht on Ch 67 until the Alfred Albert Williams eventually had her visual, so relaying possible locations was somewhat tedious.
It was also not helped by the fact that it looks as if the sailor mistook the Nab Tower for St Helens Fort! Although at one stage it was beginning to look like a hoax, the yacht was eventually located just to the south west of Selsey after the search area was narrowed when the Frenchman managed to take a bearing on the Arcadia which was leaving on a cruise came within a couple of miles of the yacht.
Once located, she was taken under tow towards Chichester Harbour where the Alfred Albert Williams RV’d with Hayling Island RNLI’s Atlantic 85 and transferred the tow. The Alfred Albert Williams then returned to Bembridge and was recovered by 8.45pm.