RHYL'S new £2.5 million lifeboat has had swimming success on its first callout to search for and unmanned yacht off Prestatyn.

Rhyl Coastguard and RNLI were tasked with providing assistance to the skipper of the 34-foot motor yacht 'Miss Moneypenny' after the vessel had engine problems near Barkby beach on Saturday, January 25.

The crew of Rhyl's Shannon-class lifeboat were paged at 11.20 am on Saturday 25 January, to search for the yacht which was on passage from Liverpool to Llannerch-Y-Mor.

Martin Jones, Rhyl RNLI coxswain said: '"With our new boat, we were able to be on scene in half the time the old lifeboat would have taken, and in better condition due to the safer handling.

The skipper had anchored the fin-keel yacht off the shore and had come ashore on the yacht's dinghy to attempt to get assistance from other means, and was returning to his yacht when the dinghy's engine also failed, stranding the owner ashore.

Concerned members of Prestatyn Sailing Club notified the UK coastguard at Holyhead, while the skipper of the Rhyl charter fishing vessel 'Merlin', Roger Daniels, was in the area, and located the position of the yacht.

Rhyl's all-weather lifeboat ' Anthony Kenneth Heard' was paged and the lifeboat launched and proceeded at full speed to the yacht's position, arriving some 12 minutes after launch.

The vessel was safely taken under tow, and due to its large fin-keel below it was taken to Mostyn harbour along with the skipper. This was done successfully, and the lifeboat returned to station at 3.15 pm.

Mr Jones, added: "The lifeboat performed very well, and it is the first time we have towed a vessel. The lifeboat proved beyond doubt the capabilities required, and it handled the job with ease."

"We would like to thank both Prestatyn Sailing Club, and the skipper of the fishing boat 'Merlin' who greatly assisted the location of the yacht in the busy shipping channel used by very fast vessels servicing the offshore wind farms."