Weekend sees Gafirs crews sent out three times

Gosport independent lifeboat (Gafirs) tow a 26ft yacht to safety in Portsmouth Harbour on Saturday Picture: Gosport NCI

Gosport independent lifeboat (Gafirs) tow a 26ft yacht to safety in Portsmouth Harbour on Saturday Picture: Gosport NCI

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Rescuers were launched three times this weekend to assist vessels in distress in the Solent.

Lifeboat crews from Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Gafirs), at Stokes Bay, Gosport, were first called into action by UK Coastguard on Saturday afternoon.

Gafirs helped a 26ft yacht which had got into difficulties when its engine failed near Ryde Middle.

Coxswain Pete Byford said: ‘When we arrived we found the casualty vessel had deployed its anchor. We placed a crew member on board the yacht and rigged a tow line to take it safely back to a berth at Hardway.’

On Sunday, Gafirs was sent to assist two vessels in distress in quick succession. The first, at 2pm, was to help a catamaran that had capsized near Lee-on-the-Solent and was having trouble righting itself.

Gosport independent lifeboat assisted the vessel – which had two persons on board and had taken on water in one of its hulls – right itself and ensured it was able to make its way safely back to its berth in Calshot.

While the lifeboat was returning to base, UK Coastguard tasked Gafirs once again – this time to help a yacht which had issued a Pan Pan distress call.

The vessel, which had two persons on board, had been dismasted and its rigging was trailing in the water. A GAFIRS crew member was placed on board the yacht and it was towed safely back to Cowes.

The weekend’s events took Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service’s tally of incidents for 2016 up to 96. GAFIRS is an independently funded lifeboat and staffed entirely by volunteers. For more information visit gafirs.org.uk.

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