Ramsgate RNLI came to the aid of two yachts yesterday (May 18).
The first call was to a yacht with engine failure but on leaving the harbour another yacht was found to be stuck on the sand blocking the inner harbour mouth.
Just after 6pm the All-weather lifeboat Esme Anderson was launched at the request of HM Coastguard to a yacht arriving from Belgium which had reported engine failure and was unable to make way under sail into Ramsgate harbour.
As Esme Anderson was leaving the harbour they found that another Belgian yacht had run aground on a sand bank in the entrance to the harbour blocking the way and so it was necessary to pass a rope to that yacht and tow it into deeper water in order to clear the entrance and allow it to make its way safely into the harbour.
On scene with the original casualty, the All-weather passed a line and towed it into Ramsgate harbour.
The yachts were part of a large fleet of over 40, including French, Dutch as well as Belgian, racing over from Ostend to Ramsgate as part of the Ascension Day race organised jointly by the Royal Temple Yacht Club and the Royal Noordzee Yacht Club in Ostend.
The race was some ten hours long and so the tired sailors were very glad to see the volunteer crew of the RNLI when they found themselves in trouble.
If the harbour was properly and regularly dredged this would not be a constant problem.
If mariners paid attention to their charts and the navigation aids, there would not be this occasional problem.
The harbour was being dredged just a couple of days ago, as it happens.
We visited last year and found the entrance to the inner harbour poorly dredged and despite following navigational marks and reviewing the latest soundings data as per the Ramsgate harbour website, we still touched as we came in, luckily we were going very slow and was able to back off, but the harbour needs regular maintenance.
Of the 50 or so boats which entered the harbour, only one grounded. So it can’t be a problem with water depth, otherwise many more would have grounded.
Well done Ramsgate Lifeboat crews….
Two very relieved yacht crews, safely berthed in the Harbour with excellent skills and knowledge.