Lifeboats from two Isle of Wight RNLI stations went to the aid of a 41 foot yacht with six people aboard yesterday evening, that had gone firmly aground on a receding tide on Quarry Ledge just east of Thorness Bay.
The Bermudan-rigged sloop Sea Scamp had been taking part in a clock-wise direction race around the Isle of Wight for classic yachts, which had begun earlier in the day from Cowes.
After Solent Coastguards were informed of the Sea Scamp’s plight, first to race to the scene was Cowes’ Atlantic 85 RIB. It was later joined by Yarmouth’s deep sea lifeboat, which deployed its rubber dinghy to reach the Sea Scamp.
With the dinghy crew’s help, Cowes lifeboat was able to give the yacht more stability, when the tide did eventually rise in the early hours of this morning, by laying out the yacht’s anchor. As the yacht became high and dry on the shelf it was also approached from the shore by the Needles auxilliary coastguard.
With hours still to go before the tide was high enough, both lifeboats returned to their respective stations.
Soon after midnight, however, Cowes lifeboat returned and was still present when the Sea Scamp finally refloated without incident. The lifeboat then escorted the yacht into Cowes where today it was inspected to determine whether it could immediately return to its base at Shamrock Quay, Southampton.
Originally named Zeisig, Sea Scamp was built in Germany in 1936 and for eight years was used for navigation training and recreation by the Luffwaffe. At the end of the war it was taken by the Royal Navy as reparations, but since 1984 has been owned and sailed by the Sea Scamp Syndicate.
The yacht’s history was not the only war-time connection with the dramatic incident; the ledge where it went aground is very close to the remains of the PLUTO pipeline which was laid in 1944 to pump fuel to France for the D Day invasion.
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