BBC Saving Lives at Sea: Welsh RNLI crew spend six hours rescuing grandfather and grandsons

Lifeboat rescuing yacht
The rescue took place from 9.20pm to 3.30am -Credit:BBC

The BBC Two programme Saving Lives at Sea shows the incredible efforts of lifeboat crews across the UK as they risk their lives to save others. Tonight's episode shows one Welsh RNLI crew spending six hours at sea rescuing a grandfather and his grandsons when their yacht sail and engine failed.

Brian, 75, and his two grandsons, who were 10 and 11, were sailing from Cumbria to north Wales, with his brother on board as well. The yacht ran into trouble off the coast of Rhyl on a rainy evening with strong winds in late August and the Rhyl lifeboat crew was called out at 9.20pm.

The yacht, which first lost its sail and then its engine, was drifting dangerously close to the wind turbines off the coast of Rhyl. To make matters worse the yacht’s radio had been damaged in the bad weather conditions, meaning it was difficult to locate the yacht.

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After locating the yacht, which was struggling in the harsh weather conditions, RNLI crew member Lewis described the scene. He said: "The yacht was being thrown all over the place by the waves and they were getting battered." For the latest TV & Showbiz news, sign up to our newsletter.

Fellow crew member Martin, added: "The yacht looked like it was in a large washing machine. You could see it going round and round and from side to side." The crew had to throw over a tow line to the yacht and pull the boat clear from the wind farm.

To help keep the yacht steady they had to tow it slowly and decided to head to Conwy estuary, which was 15 miles from their location. Martin said: "It was a very slow and arduous tow to Conwy in the conditions that we had... a very slow tow was the safest way."

Talking about the children onboard, Lewis said: "They seemed happy, excited to be with the lifeboat and to be going back to dry land." Want less ads? Download WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android.

Speaking about the rescue Brian, who has been sailing for 40 years, said: "My main problem was hitting the wind farm but I was more concerned for my grandchildren than myself or the boat... it was very very choppy at this time, I was bouncing about quite a lot."

After dropping Brian and his boat back at Conwy Marina the lifeboat headed back to Rhyl, arriving at 3.30am, meaning they had spent six hours at sea during the rescue. Brian said he enjoyed taking his grandchildren out on the yacht, as his wife had passed away.

Becoming emotional, Brain said: "She passed away last year. I think about her every day. It is still very raw. One of the last things she said was whatever you do, don't get rid of that boat because we had some great adventures on there, me, you and the grandkids."

Saving Lives at Sea airs at 6pm on BBC Two on Saturday, April 27. The episode is also available on iPlayer.