It was déjà vu for the crew of the Courtmacsherry lifeboat yesterday.
After they had rescued 18 sailors from the Astrid near Oysterhaven on the South Cork coast, it was suddenly time to turn out again, on a second emergency call.
They had to rescue a yacht and a couple they last had, quite bizarrely, rescued 15 years ago — in almost exactly the same spot off the Old Head of Kinsale.
“It was great to see the friendly faces again,” joked yachtswoman Mandy Chapman once safely back on shore, explaining that she and her husband Nick had developed rudder problems on their 42ft boat, SuperTaf, yesterday morning after hitting something hard.
The last time the couple had seen the lifeboat service was in 1998, when SuperTaf had capsized 25 miles off the Old Head in 12m high seas and 80 knot winds.
That rescue, under then-cox Dan O’Dwyer, earned the Courtmacsherry team an RNLI Bronze Medal, and is still recalled today for the bravery of the crew on that lifesaving intervention.
By comparison, the rescue of SuperTaf yesterday was a walk in the park.
The couple managed to bring SuperTaf to a Kinsale mooring under the watchful eye of the Courtmacsherry lifeboat — in contrast to 1998 when it was abandoned at sea, and later towed ashore where it spent four months being repaired in Dungarvan.
The couple, who left Falmouth two days ago, live and work on their boat for much of the time, and heard the mayday calls going out around noon yesterday for the Astrid — not knowing that by 2.15pm they would also be calling on the lifeboat’s services.
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