RHYL'S newest vessel was at sea for more than four hours in choppy seas and strong winds on its first search mission.

After the UK coastguard at Holyhead a distress call at about midnight on Friday, may 22, the town's RNLI crew were called to assist a yacht somewhere west of the South Hoyle Wind farm off Prestatyn.

Rhyl Journal:

The Rhyl crew on service navigating. Picture: RNLI/Callum Robinson

The phone call ended without an exact location being given out for the two people, who had experience electrical failure, so the Rhyl All-weather lifeboat 'Anthony Kenneth Heard' was launched at 1.57 am to search an area around the given estimated position.

At about 5.13 am, the rig support vessel 'Vos Pathfinder' and also the coastguard, received a distress coded message via radio, of a vessel in distress some distance further north than the search area, off Blackpool and in the Morecambe Bay gas field area.

The support vessel launched one of their response craft, and located the man and his yacht. Due to the position further North than anticipated, Holyhead Coastguard tasked Fleetwood lifeboat to launch, and recover the yacht and it's skipper back to Fleetwood.

Rhyl Journal:

Track of Rhyl Lifeboat 13-34 on service. Picture: RNLI/Callum Robinson

As the vessel was too far North and rescue was being delivered by another lifeboat, Rhyl lifeboat was stood down, returning to Rhyl at 6.15 am.

Martin Jones, Rhyl RNLI Coxswain says ' This is the first major search and rescue operation our new Shannon-class lifeboat was requested to perform. The boat and all systems performed well, and keeps the volunteer crew safe."