CHIEF Executive Mark Dowie visited Moelfre lifeboat station to award our volunteer crew members with the prestigious Chief Executive Commendation for a rescue that took place 04/09/2020, approximately twenty miles north of Moelfre in incredibly challenging conditions,
The request to launch came from Holyhead coastguard after they received a Mayday call from a 13-metre yacht. The yacht (on passage from Stranraer to Port Dinorwic) suffered engine failure and struggled to make headway with the adverse weather conditions.
The RNLI all-weather lifeboat ‘Kiwi’ was on the water within 15 minutes and made the best speed in the challenging sea conditions, with wind speeds gusting over 57 knots (Force 11).
A passing 150-metre merchant container vessel offered to provide shelter to the disabled yacht, but due to the erratic drift of the vessel and awful sea conditions, it had to withdraw as there were concerns that both boats would collide.
Once on scene, approximately 50 minutes after launch, the lifeboat was manoeuvred so a tow could be passed to the disabled and drifting vessel crew. The tow was eventually secured, and the RNLI lifeboat ensured the crew were safe.
They then commenced the slow, arduous task of towing the casualty vessel 20 miles south towards our boathouse in Moelfre. The lifeboat could only tow at speeds of between 2-3 knots in what can only be described as horrendous sea conditions. This was for crew safety and to prevent damage to the towline or either vessel.
After over 9 hours at sea, battling the challenging conditions, the all-weather lifeboat was rehoused and made ready for her next call to service.
Andy Hoyle Moelfre Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “This was an exceptionally long and difficult rescue during which Alan and the crew showed exceptional seamanship skills and great tenacity in establishing a tow.
“In my opinion, the actions of our crew that night undoubtedly saved 2 lives that would otherwise have been lost. The recognition and award are justly deserved.
“We must also recognise the shore crew and the families of the crew for the support they gave on this occasion and on every launch.”