Padstow lifeboat crew members have been given RNLI awards following dramatic yacht rescues.
Alan Tarby, the coxswain of the Padstow lifeboat, has been awarded the Thanks of the Institution on Vellum following two dramatic yacht rescues in June this year and two crew volunteers, Luke Chown and Christopher Murphy have received framed letters of thanks from the chairman of the RNLI for their part in the incidents.
Both rescues happened on the same day, June 25, 2007, when weather and sea conditions off Padstow were extreme. The Tamar class lifeboat was launched to assist the 40 foot yacht, Cawesande that was taking on water and unable to sail because her foresail had blown out. In heavy, rolling seas Coxswain Tarby transferred two of his volunteer crew to the yacht to evacuate the couple onboard. However, after the lifeboat had come alongside a total of fifteen times, it became clear the skipper and his wife, who were in their sixties, would not leave the boat. Eventually all four were airlifted by rescue helicopter and the yacht was towed to safety.
As the first yacht was being taken to Padstow, a second yacht was seen, anchored in a dangerous position off Stepper Point. The 30 foot sloop, Fly, had fouled her anchor and was in a treacherous position, made worse by the falling tide, gale force winds and rough sea conditions.
The yachtsman was persuaded to abandon his vessel, but during the lifeboats approach, the lively motion of the yacht led it to impact with the lifeboat. The force of the impact caused the yachtsman to fall overboard and though he remained secured by his safety harness, it took several minutes to recover him. It was too rough to cross the infamous Doom Bar so the rescue helicopter returned to airlift him to shore.
Tom Mansell, RNLI Deputy Divisional Inspector, says Alan Tarby and his volunteer crew ensured the 11 hours spent at sea were used to best effect in rescuing all three people. He said: "This was a long, dangerous and difficult service in which Coxswain Alan Tarby displayed first class seamanship, decision making, determination and courage. He was well supported by the excellent teamwork of his volunteer crew, two of whom, Chris Murphy and Luke Chown, transferred to the first yacht. These two showed considerable courage in undertaking this task willingly in such dangerous conditions."
RNLI Mechanic Michael England and volunteer crew members, Neil Simpson, Steven Nicholas, Ian Kitto, David Flide and Thomas Norfolk will each receive an individual letter of appreciation signed by the Chief Executive of the charity, Andrew Freemantle.