12th Nov: Yacht aground

Yacht aground near Lepe Spit Cardinal Mark

On watch at NCI Stone Point during the afternoon of 12th November we noticed that a yacht, situated  to the west of the Lepe Spit cardinal mark, which did not appear to be moving.  Viewing it through the telescope and using the CCTV camera we realised that it was indeed aground.  This became more apparent as the water level dropped and the yacht heeled more.

The other watchkeeper, like myself, was experienced with sailing yachts and we judged this yacht to be in no particular danger.  The sea state was smooth, she was on mud and/or shingle, and we could see the people on board and they did not appear to be concerned.  They had put out an anchor and had not issued any distress call on VHF.  They were just going to have to sit there until she floated off at around 19:00 that evening.

However we then heard radio traffic that our neighbours, the Solent Rescue independent lifeboat organisation, had reported the yacht to the Coastguard and were planning to attend.  Being a Sunday, Hamble Lifeboat were also on the water and they radioed that they would also check the yacht.  We didn’t see that the lifeboats could do anything and having visited the yacht and talked to the persons on board they departed.  Solent Rescue repositioned the yacht’s anchor, and Hamble Lifeboat said they would return and check the yacht at around the time it would float off.

Of course we were obliged to tell the Coastguard that we had “eyes on” and to write an incident report but, thankfully, we were released from the incident and allowed to close the station at 16:00,  having pointed out that it would be dark by the time the yacht floated off and that we would not really be able to help.