21/10/98 08:40 Rain, poor vis SSW f 7-8 Rough
Large sailing vessel stranded in adverse weather
The Dutch sail training vessel “Eendracht” sailed from Newhaven at 08:30 but shortly after dropping the Pilot onto the pilot boat the vessel bumped the sand bank to the east of the harbour. A distress call to Solent CG prompted them to request the launch of Newhaven lifeboat and the tug “Meeching” as well as Coastguard Rescue Helicopter “India Juliet”. The lifeboat was first on scene at 08:50 to find the three masted 60m vessel bumping the bottom and listing to port. The captain requested that the 51 PoB be evacuated. The lifeboat was taken inside the vessel and three attempts were made to come alongside and on the last occasion the lifeboat sustained damage to the bow section when the schooner rolled on to the lifeboat. With the imminent arrival of “India Juliet” it was decided better to evacuate the persons by helo.
By this time the “Meeching” was on scene and their crew managed to get a line aboard the “Eendracht” but in the heavy seas with the schooner well aground this parted. As the tug herself was hitting the bottom the lifeboat was used to take a line from the tug and backed in to the schooner to pass it aboard but this line too parted. Whilst the helo continued to airlift the casualties the lifeboat and tug, working together in shallow water and heavy breaking seas, managed to connect further tows but the lines parted three times.
By 12:20 all persons had been safely airlifted to the beach by the helo and at 12:43 when the last tow parted the lifeboat left the scene and the vessel was left to be driven further ashore. When the lifeboat returned to harbour crew member Andrew MacQueen was taken to hospital for x-ray as he had sustained a blow against the after rails. It was discovered he had suffered 3 cracked ribs.
The RNLI’s Chief of Operations later sent a “Letter of Thanks” to Coxswain/Mechanic Mike Beach and his crew for their seamanship, teamwork and professionalism during this service. He also sent a “Letter of Thanks” to Bob Domin, skipper of the tug “Meeching” congratulating him on his excellent seamanship and boat-handling skills during the attempts to pull the schooner clear
(from Newhaven Lifeboat historical archives)
I went down to Seaford the following morning to get a few photos.
I only had a cheap old Kodak point and shoot 35mm at the time.
This is a scanned copy from a 6×4 print.
By giving it an old photo treatment in PS Elements it has produced quite an atmospheric image.
Kodak 35mm point & shoot