Newcastle RNLI volunteer crews were woken from their sleep to the sound of their pagers at 1.44am on Sunday 9 September by Belfast Coastguard.
The call was to go to the aid off a lone sailor ho had grounded on the rocks opposite the entrance to Ardglass harbour at Phennick Point.
At 3.40am Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat arrived on scene and decided it would have a better chance of recovering the sailor from the rocks. They waited for a break in the waves and managed to get their Atlantic 85 in behind the rocks to safe water and put the RNLI casualty care-trained crew ashore to assess the sailor. Afer an assessment, all was found to be ok and he required no immediate medical attention.
With the Helm positioning the lifeboat close to the rocks the sailor was recovered to the lifeboat and taken safely back to Ardglass marina to be met by the Newcastle Coastguard team and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service ambulance members.
At 9.18am, there was a launch request from Belfast Coastguard for the all-weather lifeboat to return to the stricken yacht to provide safety cover whilst some local boats tried to recover it off the rocks. On arrival, the crew found two local boats struggling with the tow.
Taking the fact that there was now a person back on the yacht getting battered by the swell again, Coxswain Nathan Leneghan decided the safest and best thing was for Newcastle RNLI to take over the tow and pulled the yacht to safety and some 15 minutes later, the yacht was freed from the rocks whilst just cosmetic damage from the waves.
The yacht was then towed to the safety of Ardglass harbour and handed into the care of Newcastle and Kilkeel Coastguard teams.
There was a considerable swell and the RNLI did another great job in getting the yacht and its occupant back to harbour in one piece.