The volunteer crew of Yarmouth RNLI lifeboat, The Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer) was called to assist a 32ft yacht, Starburst’, in difficulties close to the Needles in severe weather conditions at 2pm on Sunday 12 June.
According to the lifeboat coxswain, Howard Lester, the southerly wind was gusting 49 knots which is force 10 on the Beaufort Scale. In that area the seas are particularly vicious where the sea bed is uneven and the tides of the Solent and Channel meet.
Starburst, which was on passage from Poole to Lymington, had been blown across the treacherous shingle bank and was experiencing mechanical and steering gear problems. There were six people on board. The mountainous seas made the lifeboat’s task extremely hazardous coupled with fact that the rescue coincided with low tide, at which time the waters in that area are extremely shallow.
Eventually a tow was established and Stardust was brought safely into Yarmouth at 4.30pm.