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Near disaster for lone yachtsman

The fishing vessel 'Beachy Head' Credit: Jeff Morgan

A lone yachtsman in his German registered yacht got into difficulties whilst leaving Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne yesterday morning when he struck the sunken wreck of the Barn Hill and holed his vessel.

The yacht began taking on water at such a rate that the bilge pumps were unable to cope with the ingress.

Hull damage to yacht Credit: Eastbourne Lifeboat

The yachtsman called for help, first to the marina and then by a ‘Pan Pan’ distress call on VHF radio. Fortunately local fishing vessel Beachy Head was close by and went to the assistance of the stricken yacht. One of the fishermen transferred to the yacht to assist with bailing out the water whilst the vessel was taken under tow back the short distance to harbour.

Meanwhile Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat was preparing to launch. The lifeboat’s powerful salvage pump was put aboard the yacht and was able to remove sufficient water to keep the yacht afloat whilst it was taken to the hoist bay for an emergency lift out.