Monday, 4 May 2009


15 miles to the south of Anvil point light is an excellent crab fishing area. It is also roughly on a line between the Needles fairway and Guernsey. Consequently, in good weather, the area is liberally populated with both Dhan buoys (pot marker buoys) and yachts.

Sadly the two don't go together that well. For a start, they seem to be magnetically attracted to each other. Secondly, when they do meet, they are invariably reluctant to part. And there is little that can be done about that.

So last night we were called from our beds (most of us) just before 2.30am. Pretty quickly the ALB was launched and we proceeded at best speed towards these fabled crabbing grounds. The facts of the situation filtered through pretty rapidly via Portland Coastguard. It turned out that a 12 metre yacht was firmly attached to some fishing gear in the water and the crew were unable to release it (no shame's very hard to do when there is any tide or sea running). Unfortunately neither we or Portland had direct comms with the vessel. As a result a passing ferry (the Barfleur) relayed the PanPan and subsequent details to Portland. Once they had cleared the area this roll of relaying the comms was taken over by the cruiseship Aurora who's officer of the watch (or perhaps radio officer) did an excellent job of extracting what information Portland an we needed.

About an hour later we were alongside and in a position to assess the situation. After completing a couple of laps of the vessel to ensure that we would not be similarly impeded by the fishing gear we drew up our plan of action and got on with the job of trying to grapple for the line and either part it or cut it. As luck would have it we were successful in snagging it on our first attempt and with a gentle pull it parted.

After a brief discussion with the skipper he decided that there was no damage and that he would continue his passage to Guernsey. Once it was clear that all was well once more we cleared the area and headed back to Swanage and our beds. With the boat back on the slipway at about 5.45 most of us were back in our beds by 6.30am.

A long but successful night.

Thanks to all who have voted in the Dorset cereal 'Little Blog Awards'...if you haven't yet voted please do so by following this link!

1 comment:

Fee said...

There must be some jolt of adrenalin when that pager goes off!

One of our local lifeboats was called out to a rescue which was a bit ... well ... different. Hope the link works