On Wednesday 8 July 2015, around 16:35, following some very high winds and heavy rain, John Brooks of Happisburgh Coast watch (HCW) spotted a small sailing vessel about 1nm off the reefs at Sea Palling, which was not making headway. HCW observed the vessel for 5 minutes during which time the sail boat appeared to be in difficulties. The boat was wallowing in the swell, and seemed unable to raise its mainsail due to what appeared to be tangled rigging. HCW called HMCG at approx 16:40 to advise them of the situation.
At 16:45, in reducing visibility, after observing that the sailing boat was drifting nearer the reef, and still not under way, and appearing to be out of control, HCW notified HMCG who then called on Happisburgh RNLI to assist.
At approx 17:00 the lifeboat was launched. Meanwhile the vessel had drifted further round the reefs and was now out of sight of HCW.
The lifeboat reached the vessel around 15 minutes later. The 25 foot sail boat, with one person on board, had been trying to anchor off the reef but had lost one of its anchors. The lifeboat assisted in finding a safer place to anchor. The rigging was also tangled and would have to be attended to before the boat could get underway. The sailor decided to anchor for the night, as the weather was continuing to deteriorate.
Last Friday 3rd July at 14.00hrs a small Topper sailing dinghy was also spotted in difficulties off the shore of Happisburgh beach. The vessel had managed to capsize and the sailor was having difficulty righting the boat. HCW observed the dinghy until it was safely ashore.
HCW provides a surveillance and reporting service along part of the East Coast (between Walcott and Sea Palling), and out past the treacherous Haisboro’ Sands. This service works in close relationship with HM Coastguard, providing alerts and support to incidents that occur along the beach and out to sea. These can involve beach users, sailors, jet-skiers, fishermen, as well as larger commercial vessels.
To join the team, please call Louise Brooks 07976 432019.
To donate by text, text HCWA24 £2 to 70070.
To donate by post send a cheque payable to Happisburgh Coastwatch to 64 Rivermead, Stalham NR12 9PJ