Crew training for the Global Challenge was put to a real test on Wednesday night when skipper, Jon Crawford, mate Joanne Summers and their nine strong crew took part in a dramatic rescue near the Needles, Isle of Wight.
One of the Challenge Business yachts which is currently on a 10-day training sail, training Crew Volunteers for next year's Global Challenge, was alerted, via Pan Pan and then May Day, to an incident in the channel at 21.00GMT.
Jon Crawford immediately diverted the yacht to the position given by the Solent Coastguard, approximately 20 miles south of the Needles, and located a man in a life raft with a helicopter sweeping overhead.
Jon's crew immediately set about retrieving the man, Martin Taylor, in his mid 40s, who was pulled off a life raft to the safety of the Challenge yacht. The crew coincidentally included two Doctors and a physiotherapist. The yacht then made for Southampton arriving at 06.00 GMT this morning where they were met by the Solent Coastguard.
Martin had been part of a two-man crew aboard the yacht 'Lycaena', which is believed to have hit a submerged object and sunk. The owner of the yacht Mark McCloed was pulled from the life raft and safely airlifted by the helicopter.
Skipper, Jon Crawford, comments: "Well, what a night! We were just returning from a training sail across from France when we heard the distress call. This was the fourth training session for the Crew Volunteers so they'd had a great deal of practice in man overboard and rescue techniques but here it was, baptism by fire!
"The guys onboard were excellent. I was able to stay on the helm knowing a smooth operation was taking place on deck as they quickly and calmly retrieved the man. I'm just glad we were so close to assist and had such an excellent crew on board.
"Martin was obviously shaken by what had happened but was in pretty good spirits. We made sure he was comfortable in one of the bunks before making our way back to Southampton as quickly as possible."