Dramatic first rescue for Dunbar's new coxswain

DUNBAR'S new RNLI lifeboat coxswain faced a high seas drama at the weekend on his first rescue in charge.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 12:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 12:10 pm

On Saturday night 25-year-old Jamie Lamb took the Dunbar lifeboat through near gale force winds and high seas to go to the aid off a yacht in difficulty off the East Lothian coast.

The two crew of the Port Edgar based yacht Explorer had become disorientated in mountainous waves suffering from severe sea sickness.

Jamie, the station's deputy second coxswain said: "When we arrived at the lifeboat berth at Torness on Saturday night I initially thought there was a chance we would not be able to leave the mooring the seas were so big.

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"The yacht had given its position as a mile and a half north of Dunbar but once we got out of Torness we discovered she was actually over eight miles north.

"It took the best part of an hour to reach her punching our way through a fairly big sea.

"I was talking to the yacht crew on the radio most of the way there reassuring them that we were on our way and it was clear they were in a lot of trouble."

When the Dunbar RNLI lifeboat, the John Neville Taylor, reached the stricken yacht Jamie made one attempt to get alongside to take the man and woman off the boat.

"It was just too tricky", said the young coxswain, "the waves were massive and I ended up hitting the yacht – fortunately no damage was caused.

"We could see the man and woman on board were in pretty poor shape and had to be got off quickly and so I told them to motor a little further north to get into the calmer water in the lee of the Isle of May.

"Once there we were able to get alongside for a couple of moments - just enough time to get them off and two of our crew on board the yacht."

The two RNLI volunteer lifeboat men were Stuart Pirrie and the station's newest crewman Jamie Forrester.

Once the transfer was completed the Dunbar boat headed off to Anstruther and the yacht, which needed a deeper harbour headed for Pittenweem, both in Fife.

The causalities, both believed to be in their 50s and from Edinburgh, were met in Anstruther by paramedics and treated in the town's lifeboat shed.

Dunbar RNLI Coxswain Gary Fairbairn paid tribute to his young assistant after the rescue. "This was truly a baptism of fire for Jamie – he demonstrated real cool and a high level of seamanship carrying out what would be a difficult rescue for even the most experienced of coxswains."