From my position on a cliff edge it was easy to see the wreck of SS Varvassi at low water, positioned just 200ft from the Needles lighthouse. The wreck was guarded at low water by the RNLI lifeboat from Yarmouth.
The inside passage is a risk but if you are racing one can save valuable time, unfortunately Alchemist hit it.
The collision caused serious damage to the bow of the 30ft Ed Dubois half-tonner.
Workout - a fellow competitor in the race lowered her sails and offered assistance.
First on the scene was the Police launch Commander, a new high speed catamaran.
Crew were transferred to the Police launch and a coastguard rib arrived.
The RNLI Atlantic rib from Mudeford guns the throttles and heads to the rescue scene at full speed, a wonderful sight given the conditions.
The Yarmouth RNLI lifeboat was in the area but on the Alum Bay side of the Needles.
Two crew members have transferred to the Police launch and two are transferred to the RNLI rib.
Bows first Alchemist heads below the waves into 60 ft of water.
The race continues.
Fortunately all four crew were saved. The owner of the yacht Alchemist is distraught due to the loss of his beautiful wooden Ed Dubois designed half-tonner. Mark Wynter, Commodore of the Island Sailing Club had commissioned the boat to be built on the Island in 1977 and she is a well know vessel. The yacht was loaned to a skipper for the day when the accident happened. The SS Varvassi sank in 1947 and is one of the most well know wrecks in the Solent, the other being the Mary Rose which is now in Portsmouth Dockyard. To remove or blow up this wreck is considered too dangerous for the safety of the Needles and the Needles Lighthouse.