The 36FT monohull, which was taking on water, had five sailors on board. Four of the crew were suffering from severe seasickness.
HMS Diamond also responded to the Mayday. The Royal Navy’s type 45 Destroyer was first to arrive on scene. Four of the five casualty crew were taken off the yacht. The skipper remained on board. HMS Diamond transferred three of their seamen on to the casualty vessel to assist the skipper.
The yacht was proceeding in a north westerly direction under motor-sail.
Newhaven RNLI drew alongside HMS Diamond to retrieve the four seasick casualties. The Lifeboat then stood by the casualty vessel until Bembridge RNLI, also tasked, had arrived on scene.
Lewis Arnold, Newhaven RNLI Coxswain, says: ‘The four casualties were very seasick, we needed to get them to the closest safe port.’
At 5am Newhaven RNLI docked in Portsmouth to deliver the casualties. While they made their return passage to Newhaven, Bembridge RNLI escorted the casualty vessel to safe port.
After nearly nine hours on service, Newhaven Lifeboat returned to pagers at 7.49am.
Diamond’s Commanding Officer, Commander Peter Barfoot, praised his sailors and their quick actions in saving the yachtsmen and preventing the boat from sinking.
“When the yacht sent out her distress call, Diamond was in the vicinity and therefore able to respond in a timely manner,” he said.
“The ship’s company were able to evacuate and disembark the crew who needed medical assistance. At the same time some of the ship’s specialists were able to embark and provide essential support to the yacht’s skipper which ultimately prevented the vessel from sinking.
“In arduous conditions, working without respite, members of my ship’s company saved the lives of five sailors and ensured a vessel was not lost.
“This is in keeping with the finest traditions of the service and I could not be more proud of my team.”
HMS Diamond left Portsmouth yesterday to join up with HMS Queen Elizabeth for operations in northern European waters. Diamond will be part of a powerful Carrier Striker Group of warships, helicopters and F-35 stealth jets on Operation Achillean.