Six rowers attempting to circumnavigate Britain are rescued off the coast of Northern Ireland

Six rowers attempting to circumnavigate Britain in ‘the world’s toughest race’ are rescued off the coast of Northern Ireland after facing gale force winds – a day after a rival boat was towed to shore in Wales

  • The vessel, which started its journey from London, called for assistance at 4pm
  • It was around 18 nautical miles north-east of Larne when it got into difficulty
  • Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat, the Coastguard Rescue helicopter and a tanker were sent

Six rowers attempting to circumnavigate Britain in ‘the world’s toughest race’ have been rescued off the coast of Northern Ireland.

The rowing vessel, which started its journey from London on June 12, called for assistance at 4pm on Saturday, stating it was in the Irish Sea and unable to row due to worsening weather conditions.

The rowing vessel was approximately 18 nautical miles north-east of Larne when it got into difficulty. Weather on the scene was gale force 8 and rough seas.

The Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat, the Coastguard Rescue helicopter 199 from Prestwick and a tanker in the local area were sent.

Just after 11pm the rowers were able to board the lifeboat. All are safe and well and making their way to shore.

Six rowers attempting to circumnavigate Britain in ‘the world’s toughest race’ have been rescued off the coast of Northern Ireland

It comes after another vessel attempting to row around Great Britain called for assistance on Friday, just before 6.30pm.

The five rowers onboard the vessel left London 13 days ago. Their last known position was 42.5 nautical miles west of St Ann’s Head, Pembrokeshire.

HM Coastguard and the Irish Coast Guard issued broadcasts to all vessels in the area requesting them to keep a sharp look out.

A ferry reported seeing a rowing boat and was able to establish radio communications.

The rowers confirmed they were safe, but fatigued and were concerned about worsening weather conditions.

The rowers, along with their shore contact, made the decision to head to Wexford, Ireland, with both HM Coastguard and the Irish Coast Guard monitoring the situation.

The two vessels were attempting to row around Great Britain, both starting their journey's from London on June 12

The two vessels were attempting to row around Great Britain, both starting their journey’s from London on June 12

The rowing vessel was approximately 18 nautical miles north-east of Larne when it got into difficulty.  Weather on the scene was gale force 8 and rough seas

The rowing vessel was approximately 18 nautical miles north-east of Larne when it got into difficulty. Weather on the scene was gale force 8 and rough seas

At around midnight on Friday, the vessel sustained damage to its rudder. Angle RNLI lifeboat was sent and able to attach a tow.

Due to the offshore location and delicacy needed in the towing, the lifeboat was out for nearly 12 hours, arriving with the rowers and their vessel in Milford Haven, Wales, just before 12.30pm on Saturday. Although fatigued the rowers did not need medical assistance.

There is a third rowing vessel, that also left London on the 12th June, that is currently in the Irish Sea. It does not require assistance at this time and is continuing the journey.

HM Coastguard is in regular communications with the vessel and will continue to monitor the situation throughout the night.

The Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat, the Coastguard Rescue helicopter 199 from Prestwick and a tanker in the local area were sent

The Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat, the Coastguard Rescue helicopter 199 from Prestwick and a tanker in the local area were sent

Alex Smith, Commander at HM Coastguard, said: ‘The rowers were well prepared, they had all the appropriate safety equipment, a VHF radio and satellite phone but they still got caught out.

‘Most importantly they had a shore contact, who was able to raise the alarm after communications were lost with first vessel.

‘Whether you are rowing across the sea, sailing along the coast or going out for a paddle, always be prepared, check the weather, take the appropriate safety equipment and means of calling for help.

‘Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to come back.

‘Remember if you see someone in difficulty at sea or along the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

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