LIFEBOAT crews from Aberystwyth and New Quay have come to the rescue of a ‘rapidly drifting’ yacht 11 miles off the coast.

The rescue, which took place on Tuesday, 9 January, was Aberystwyth RNLI’s second of the new year and New Quay’s first.

Members of New Quay’s lifeboat alerted the crew at Aberystwyth’s to the situation as they prepared to launch a rescue mission.

The plan was for the New Quay crew to head out to the 14 metre yacht carrying three people 11 miles off the coast of Aberystwyth.

Crews approach the 14 metre vessel in choppy waters (RNLI)

The yacht had lost propulsion, torn sails, and no way to anchor itself, causing it to ‘rapidly drift’ out to sea.

As the yacht continued to drift, and despite ‘worsening’ weather conditions, the rescue team decided to tow the boat 11 miles back to Aberystwyth.

Aberystwyth Lifeboat Press Officer, Paul McCann, said: “With the distance and conditions worsening, the Lifeboat Operations Manager in discussions with the Coastguard decided to request that the all weather New Quay Shannon class Lifeboat would be the better option for getting to and towing the 14 metre vessel.”

When the crew arrived at the yacht within an hour after the alert, the rescue team found the boat had drifted another 3 miles into sea.

A member of the rescue team said: “When we arrived on the scene, about 14 miles off the coast of Aberystwyth and 18 miles from New Quay.

“The yacht was completely disabled, and the weather was worse than the forecast. There was a strong north eastern breeze, so they were drifting in this strong wind.

We were towing directly against that wind, so we had to take it very slow to stop the yacht taking on a lot of water. We couldn’t go faster than four or five knots.”

The vessel was towed back to the safety of Aberystwyth marina (RNLI )

With New Quay’s lifeboat crew battling the weather out at sea for the three hour long towing mission, Aberystwyth lifeboat was put on standby to take over the tow and steer the yacht into Aberystwyth harbour once the rescue mission got closer.

“Aberystwyth lifeboat crew reassembled just after 4pm and then launched their Atlantic class lifeboat Spirit of Friendship just before 5pm. The crew met New Quay and the casualty yacht approximately half a mile off shore.

“The tow was transferred to Aberystwyth Lifeboat and the casualty vessel was safely brought into the harbour and berthed the vessel in the marina.

“This was Aberystwyth Lifeboat's second call out of the year and the first for New Quay.”