LIFEBOAT volunteers braved storm-force winds early today to rescue a sailor on difficulties in the River Dart.
The drama began just after midnight when a 45-foot yacht reported problems with sails in the Dart between Dartmouth and Kingswear.
River conditions were choppy with a 25-knot wind at the time, and the Dartmouth-based Dart lifeboat was launched after cries for help were heard.
The yacht Sea Brigand, with only the skipper on board, was having problems with its jib unfurling in the high winds.
When the lifeboat crew arrived the skipper was on the foredeck trying to stop the jib unfurling further and was in danger of being thrown into the water in the wind and driving rain.
Two of the lifeboat crew boarded the yacht to give him assistance but the jib could not be furled further.
The was swinging on her anchor chain and coming closer to other vessels as the tide fell.
The Torbay all-weather lifeboat launched from Brixham to give assistance and came round Berry Head in Force Ten winds gusting over 60 knots. They took an hour to reach Dartmouth in the atrocious conditions.
The Torbay lifeboat went alongside the yacht and the two lifeboat crews worked together to move the yacht to the visitors pontoon at Darthaven.
This was the second time Dart crewman Darren Hopley had assisted in the rescue of this yacht as he was involved in a previous rescue at sea a year ago.