French Yachtsman Rescued Off Scilly

The lifeboat alongside the French Yacht Betelgeuse yesterday evening.

A French yachtsman spent last night at the Star Castle Hotel after being rescued by the St Mary’s lifeboat.

The Whiteheads, under the command of coxswain Phil Woodcock was launched at 4.14pm on Wednesday afternoon following a request for help from a lone French yachtsman.

The yacht Betelgeuse, a 6.5m Mini Transat racing yacht had been dis-masted in heavy seas 30 miles south west of the islands in a force 8 north-westerly gale.

The 7-man volunteer crew of the St. Mary’s lifeboat immediately launched and arrived at the scene at 6.40pm

The Coastguard said communication with the yacht was difficult as the mast was in the water, but the vessel was helped by a passing car carrier, which went alongside providing shelter from the wind and relaying communications.

From Radio Scilly

Lifeboat press officer Steve Watt describes Wednesday’s rescue

Former Launch Authority John Nichols praises Phil Woodcock

The wave height was reported as over 5 metres and the conditions made it too dangerous to attempt to tow, so the yacht’s skipper, Louis Segre, was transferred to The Whiteheads, which then made her way back to St. Mary’s in the heavy weather.

The lifeboat arrived in the harbour just after 8.00pm and was back on the mooring ready for service eight minutes later.

Former Lifeboat Launch Authority, John Nichols, said Phil Woodcock did a fantastic job in his first command of the lifeboat. John said he made the right decision to leave the yacht in vey poor weather conditions.


See a video of the dramatic rescue, recorded by the crew of the RNLB The Whiteheads