One was in his Gull dinghy and the other in a Heron dinghy. All went well with the two boats sailing down the harbour and out into Hayling Bay where the choppy sea conditions were quite different.
After sailing across the Bay, they both turned to enter Chichester Harbour where the waves over the Winner Bank caused the Gull to capsize, throwing the 93 year old into the water. The dinghy was rapidly swamped and the man could not get back into it and became very cold. His sailing companion, on the second dinghy, didn’t see what happened.
Luckily, after a while in the water, a fishing boat saw the man and his dinghy and went over to stop the dinghy being washed ashore and radioed the Coastguard for help.
The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat had just been recovered from an earlier rescue and was relaunched immediately. Once on scene it was evident that the sailor had been in the water too long and was suffering hypothermia, so needed to be taken ashore quickly.
RNLI Helm Pete Hanscombe said: ‘The elderly man had been in the water for an unknown length of time and clearly was in distress. He was very glad to be in the lifeboat heading to safety‘.
Once ashore the sailor was taken into the care of the station paramedic and shore crew, and an ambulance was called. With careful care the man recovered but was taken to hospital to be checked over. He was discharged later that day and was able to return home.
Back on the scene of the capsize, the crew of the fishing boat was still hanging onto the man’s Gull dinghy. The crew of the Atlantic 85 returned to try to tow it ashore, but found it too full of water and so had to let it be driven by the tide and wind onto the beach.
Once there, the volunteers were able to bail out the dinghy and then tow it to the lifeboat station. It was collected by the man’s sailing companion the next day.
He expressed their gratitude for a swift reaction to recover his friend and for the expert care he received once ashore.