With all searchlights blazing in the setting sun Coastguard helicopter Rescue 187 combs the coastline with Steepholm in the background

A full scale rescue operation was mounted in the Bristol Channel  last night for several young sailors – whose sailing dinghies had capsized during a “sailing lesson” and were reported to be  “drifting with the tide” with their crews unable to get them upright.

Some of the young sailors became separated from their overturned dinghies and were swimming in the open water, supported only by their life-jackets.

A Penarth Yacht Club safety boat began rescuing them but there were so many in the water some yacht club members on the shore dived into the water to swim to the youngsters. In the initial confusion it was not immediately clear how many youngsters were actually in the water  nor  how many had actually been attending the training session.

After sweeping the coast as far as Penarth the Coastguard helicopter turned South to continue the search.

Both Penarth lifeboats were launched and Barry Dock’s ocean-going lifeboat was also called in to assist. Penarth Coastguard officers were also called to the scene and the Coastguard Rescue helicopter Rescue 187 was also brought in to comb the coastline all the way from Penarth Head to Sully Island .

A capsized Topper sailing dinghy from Penarth Yacht Club was located by Barry Dock lifeboat off Lavernock Point. (RNLI Ben Philips Photo)

On the ebbing tide  one  overturned dinghy was spotted off Lavernock Caravan Park and was brought ashore by Penarth Coastguards whilst  RNLI crews towed  some of the vessels back to Penarth Yacht Club.

Penarth’s D Class lifeboat being brought ashore last night (RNLI Photo)

During the search one Penarth lifeboat crew had  intercepted local boats in the area to check whether they had spotted any of the drifting dinghies.

Eventually it was established that all the young dinghy sailors were safe and well –  and accounted for.

This is the second such recent incident involving multiple capsizes by young sailors operating under the tutelage of Penarth Yacht Club. A previous incident on April 24th also involved Penarth Lifeboat and Penarth Coastguard.

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  1. Communication issue. I was there. Happy to facilitate a crisis communication plan between Penarth yaught club and RNLI who seemed grateful for the offer yesterday evening, as I watched and understood what had happened from volunteers, mothers and kids who had been rescued

    • Please don’t Nicki, leave it to the experts.

      • A crisis communications programme if they need help – they seem not to however as all they felt was under control
        Others may want to help with other key areas of health safety to support the club

    • Tom Dick and Harry says:

      Your talents are best placed on dry land.
      Does that include the pier… maybe not🚫

    • Ralf says:

      “a crisis communication plan” – Ye Gods, you can’t even spell.

    • Member of the yacht club says:

      As a member id just like to say, WE DO NOT NEED YOUR HELP or your PR Guruness. Also if your going to advertise your services, please use spell check “Yacht”…

  2. Old Penarthian. says:

    Firstly glad everyone is safe & well. Perhaps a few of the Kids could help Nicki improve her communication skills Spelling as a starter (YAUGHT)

  3. Ted says:

    I am sure the club risk asses before each training session and have a high level of training skills but 2 major incidents on this scale in such a short time does raise the question?

  4. As I watched the situation with a very worried mum, the coastguards on arrival were utterly professional. Speaking with them it was informative to understand what had transpired. Many stories seemed to be circulating, and there did not appear to be a coordinated communication strategy or statement so people were clear . The young people were all ok thank goodness and tonight on the water there seemed to be a training session on how to deal with a capsized boat as many of us watched from the pier.

    • AK says:

      There is a coordinated communications strategy. It takes place on VHF radio between the coastguard, the helicopter and the lifeboat all of whom knew exactly what to do.

      You sound like that bloke on t.v. who was complaining last week that the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police didn’t reply to his tweet with more info about the mass murder at the Arena that he was investigating.

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