24th Dec: Windsurfer “incident”
I arrived at NCI Stone Point ready for the afternoon watch in time to witness the tail end of an “incident”. A member of the public had phoned the Coastguard to say that there was a windsurfing board off Lepe Spit apparently with nobody on it. Meanwhile the morning watch at Stone point had become concerned that a windsurfer was in the water and taking an unusually long time to get back on their board, and decided to phone the Coastguard. Conditions were poor; visibility was not good and the wind was force 7 gusting gale force 8.
Solent Coastguard had tasked RNLI Calshot Lifeboat “Max Walls” but when they reached the assumed “casualty” their help was refused. Apparently the windsurfer’s mast and sail had become detached from the board and, having managed to reattach it the windsurfer wanted to make their own way back to shore. The lifeboat crew were concerned about that course of action, given the conditions and the length of time the person had been in the water, and there may have been some arguing!
The photos below were taken after the original windsurfer had returned to shore and when (I think) a different member of the same party had sailed out to talk to the lifeboat crew. Taken with a long telephoto lens they give an idea of the conditions during “incident”.
As is normal practice, the local Coastguard Rescue Team turned up to debrief the “casualty”. Driving below the station in the lower car park they gave us a “thumbs-up” but, again as normal, we did not hear any more about the incident.