Sunday, August 13, 2006
Two lifeboat crews were scrambled when the "exhausted" skipper of a catamaran got into difficulties in strong seas off the coast of Sunderland. David Sallmow, 50, from Scotland, had been sailing alone for five days in his 8ft vessel, Sandy Bottom, when gale force conditions got the better of him. He was travelling from Granton Harbour in the Forth Estuary to Norway and was blown off course. Lifeboat crews from Sunderland and Tynemouth managed to rescue the vessel. A Coastguard spokesman said: "Having battled against strong winds and tides for five days, without hot food or drink, and only a small outboard motor for assistance, he had attempted to return to his home harbour, but found himself exhausted and unable to continue. "Sunderland's Atlantic 75 Lifeboat was launched to go to the yachtsman's aid immediately."But due to the strong winds and heavy seas the coastguard launched the larger Tynemouth all-weather lifeboat to tow the boat to safety at North Shields." Coxswain of Tynemouth Lifeboat, Michael Nugent said: "We were tasked to go to the assistance of a boat in difficulty off Sunderland. "Our Sunderland lifeboat was already on the scene and they had put a crewmember onto the vessel for safety reasons, who stayed with it as we towed it to Royal Quays Marina. "This underlines the fact that what some may see as a routine trip can develop into a dangerous situation and we always recommend that anyone going to sea is properly prepared for all eventualities."