LIFEBOAT crews were called to a sinking yacht that had left Portsmouth Harbour.
Several rescue craft were called to the aid of the 40ft yacht, which had three Swiss men on board, after it lost its rudder and was taking on water at the entrance of Cowes Harbour. It had arrived there from Portsmouth Harbour.
The drama started just after midday when the yacht snagged the anchor chain of No 2 buoy at the entrance of Cowes Harbour, the RNLI said.
The yacht was drifting westwards, while taking on water, when the Cowes lifeboat, a River Medina-based crew transport vessel, Calshot RNLI lifeboat, a police launch, a Cowes Harbour launch, and a catamaran and two car ferries belonging to Red Funnel also headed to help.
A Cowes RNLI spokesman said: ‘Two of the yacht’s crew were taken off by the crew transport craft. The yacht was boarded by two of the Cowes lifeboat crew with a salvage pump, but they found there was just too much water to be effective, having by then reached as high as the yacht’s chart table.
‘As it was clear the yacht would eventually sink, everyone was taken off the craft, and Cowes Harbour released a tow line to take the yacht further away from the shipping lane. The sinking finally occurred off Gurnard, leaving just part of the mast above the water. A marker buoy was put in place by the Cowes Harbour launch, as a warning to other vessels.’