A RESCUE operation involving a man stranded on his yacht with his brother and grandchildren in Rhyl was shown as part of a BBC programme last night (April 23).

Members of Rhyl’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew featured on yesterday’s episode of Saving Lives at Sea.

The Rhyl segment focused on an incident during a rainy evening last year, when skipper Brian came into difficulty on the “infamously rough” Irish Sea.

An emergency Coastguard call had been made reporting that his yacht had lost engine power while caught in the storm offshore.


RNLI called to ‘concern for safety incident’ at bridge in Rhyl

Within minutes, Rhyl RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat, Anthony Kenneth Heard, launched, amid risk of the yacht crashing with an offshore wind farm.

As the incident took place late at night, the limited visibility meant locating the yacht proved more complex than expected, while its main radio had suffered water damage in the storm.

The lifeboat arrived on the scene 30 minutes after launching to find the yacht roughly half a mile from the wind farm, being “thrown all over the place” and being “battered” by waves in the “howling” winds.

Indeed, one of the RNLI crew members said that the yacht looked as if it was “in a large washing machine”.

One located, the yacht was towed to Conwy Estuary - a “very slow and arduous” operation, but the “safest way,” a crew member said.

By 1.30am, more than two hours after starting the tow, the yacht was brought into the estuary, only for crew members to find more casualties emerge from below the deck, including Brian’s grandsons.

Once all four casualties were checked over for injuries, the Rhyl RNLI crew handed their care to the waiting Coastguard team.

Brian, 75, had been taking his grandsons and brother on a two-week-long trip from Cumbria to North Wales.

He said: “I felt a big responsibility for the grandchildren.

“I don’t think they really understood how serious it could have got. It was wet, windy, and we were going nowhere.

“We thanked the lifeboat crew, and the first thing the grandchildren said was: ‘Are we having something to eat now?’

“So, we ended up making bacon butties at whatever time it was in the morning for the kids!

“If the lifeboat crew hadn’t come out, we could have had serious problems with the wind farm. I consider myself very lucky that we have the RNLI to come to our problems when they happen.”

Rhyl RNLI coxswain Martin Jones recalled the “elation” he and his fellow crew members felt at bringing the casualties to safety.

He added: “It’s great for the Rhyl station and its volunteer crew to be showcased in the episode of Saving Lives At Sea.

“The featured ‘shout’ is a great demonstration of our crew’s commitment and dedication to helping those in need at sea.”

It was not until 3.30am the following morning that the lifeboat returned to the Rhyl station; two months later, Brian’s yacht was still undergoing repairs at Conwy Marina.

You can watch last night’s episode including the Rhyl RNLI rescue mission on BBC iPlayer.