The woman owner of a sunken Old Gaffer that was towed by Cowes RNLI lifeboat into shallow waters off East Cowes paid a surprise visit to the station’s crew-night, with a welcome cheque.
The woman, Sumeyah Sallam, a New Zealander living in Ventnor, was sailing her 20 foot Old Gaffer. Dram, from Wootton Creek to Yarmouth, to attend the Old Gaffers Festival, when it suddenly sunk off Old Castle Point, East Cowes.
Both she and her Cypriot companion, Ulus Bahcecioglu, were quickly picked up by a passing RIB and transferred to a yacht, from where the lifeboat took them ashore for a precautionary medical check-up. The lifeboat then managed to tow the Dram, only its bows and mast showing above water, close to the shore. It was later raised by a salvage company and is now being repaired by at a Cowes boatyard.
Although the RNLI does not make a charge for its operations the crew were delighted when Sumeyah Sallam interrupted their crew-night talk to hand-over a ‘thank-you’ cheque for £100. It was, she said, to go towards the appeal for the proposed new lifeboat station at old Customs House.
Receiving the cheque, lifeboat operations manager Mark Southwell said: “It is always great when people helped by the RNLI show their appreciation by contributing towards the cost of the service, which does not receive any government funding. Hopefully more donations will be forthcoming this year to achieve the £1-million target set for the proposed new station. Already we have passed the £200,000 mark.”