A SAILOR was rescued after his boat ran aground at Hayling island.
Colin Huggins narrowly missed smashing into the groynes at Eastoke Corner after his electronic navigation system broke down.
Luckily, the RNLI was quickly on hand to rescue the pensioner.
Days earlier, the experienced sailor had donated £150 from a collection he had done for the life-saving charity.
The drama as Mr Huggins lost his way going into Chichester Harbour and finished up aground on the beach at Eastoke Point, narrowly missing the groynes on either side of him which are made of huge rocks.
Mr Huggins, from Hayling, said ‘I’m most grateful for the superb help the RNLI has given me.
‘Perhaps it’s fitting that I have been giving to this charity over the years?’
He was in his 28ft motor yacht Ebb Tide travelling back from Gosport when his equipment broke last Friday night.
He lost his way in the confusion and ran aground on the beach within 10 feet of one of the large rock groynes.
Mr Huggins called Solent Coastguard who asked the Hayling Island RNLI Lifeboat Station to go to his assistance at about 6.45pm.
The Atlantic 85 lifeboat was launched and reached him very quickly as he was very close to the lifeboat station.
Mr Huggins was found on board but clearly shaken by the situation with the boat being lifted and banged down onto the shingle and sand shore.
The lifeboat crew managed to free the yacht off the sand, and with a tow attached pulled her off the beach.
They then towed the yacht round to Sparkes Marina.
Senior Helmsman Andy Ferguson said: ‘He was very fortunate to have missed the rocks on the point as the damage and outcome could well have been much worse.’
So far this year, 53 people have been rescued by Hayling RNLI.
The lifeboat station is on an urgent recruitment drive for active boat and shore crew who live near to the station.
If you are interested in volunteering go along to the open days on Sunday November 25 and Sunday, December 2 from 10am at the station in Bracklesham Road.
If you can not make it and would like information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.