Lifeboat crew recover vital launcher

A LIFEBOAT crew spent the weekend rescuing its own launching trailer after it sunk during a bid to help a yacht in trouble off the East Anglian coast.The Aldeburgh lifeboat was launched at 1.

By David Lennard

A LIFEBOAT crew spent the weekend rescuing its own launching trailer after it sunk during a bid to help a yacht in trouble off the East Anglian coast.

The Aldeburgh lifeboat was launched at 1.45am on Saturday to go to the aid of the Dutch 25ft yacht Marco, which reported difficulties 25 miles out to sea.

The crew managed to reach the yacht and help two it back to shore despite problems during its launch.

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One of the ropes holding the launching trailer carriage snapped and became entangled with one of the propellers of the lifeboat.

The rope breaking also caused the carriage to be lost into the North Sea when the lifeboat launched.

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After bringing the yacht safely to shore the lifeboat was berthed at Levington Marina and the rope freed from the propellor.

Mick Testoni, of the Aldeburgh lifeboat station, said: "It says a great deal for the seamanship and ability of the crew from Aldeburgh that despite of their own problems they were able to reach a yacht in trouble 25 miles from the shore and bring it back to safety.

"Fortunately the lifeboat was not damaged at all but it took a little more effort to retrieve the launch carriage."

Members of the Aldeburgh lifeboat crew returned to the RNLI station at low tide late on Saturday in a bid to return the trailer to the shore.

"The tractor went into the water as far as it could and the crew used grappling hooks to try and locate the lost carriage but unfortunately this was not successful," said Mr Testoni.

Yesterday, a team of divers arrived at Aldeburgh and managed to locate the 14-ton carriage about 40 yards from the shore.

"We believe the lifeboat would have towed it out to sea for a short distance but it was pretty much in the position we thought it was," added Mr Testoni.

The carriage will now be thoroughly checked over by RNLI engineers and, once it is given the all-clear, the Aldeburgh crew will bring the lifeboat back to the coastal town from Levington Marina.

The three-man crew on the yacht Marco needed help after the vessel suffered a damaged rudder and could not navigate in the rough seas.

The weather conditions off the coast during the early hours of Saturday resulted in a number of calls for help from vessels in trouble.

But coastguards at Walton-on-the-Naze and Great Yarmouth said all boats were safely brought to shore by lifeboat crews.

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