Cowes RNLI has come to the rescue of a mother and her two young daughters after an ocean yacht went firmly aground near the mouth of Southampton Water.
Yacht skipper/owner of the 41 foot Solus, Peter Simpson, had called up Solent Coastguards after going aground on the Bramble Bank in a Force 5 south-westerly just before 3.30 pm yesterday afternoon.
They had left a mooring at Shamrock Quay in the River Itchen, bound for Newtown
Estuary on the Isle of Wight.
Cowes' Atlantic 85 RIB, Tabby Cat, helmed by Patrick Moreton, put crew-member James Rankin aboard the Solus and then attempted without success to tow it off the sandbank. It was then decided that because of the uncomfortable swell it would be better to take Peter Simpson's partner and their two daughters, aged five and nearly two, back to Cowes before attempting another tow.
With mother and children now safely in the lifeboat station, the lifeboat once again crossed the Solent. This time, with the sails of the Solus being used to heel the yacht over, the towing effort eventually proved successful.
The yacht, apparently none the worse for the grounding, then accompanied the lifeboat back to Shepards Wharf, Cowes. The lifeboat had been off-station nearly three hours.
Expressing his gratitude to the RNLI, Peter Simpson said, "It needs to be understood that the Solus is not just a boat - it is our home. So we are particularly grateful for the successful tow operation. And the lifeboat crew were consummate professionals."
Although the Trinity House tender Galatea had also gone to the scene of the grounding, the water proved too shallow to get close enough to the Solus to attempt a tow.