THE crew of a yacht rescued from rough seas in Cardigan Bay saw they owe their lives to New Quay’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat.

The yacht, with four people on board, was on its way from Beaumaris to Milford Haven when it ran into trouble in the early hours of Saturday May 4 in a force seven north-westerly wind.

The disabled vessel was drifting after losing hydraulic power to its steering.

New Quay station’s relief Mersey class all-weather lifeboat, Bingo Lifeline, was requested to launch by HM Coastguard to aid the 36-foot motor yacht, 24 nautical miles off the Ceredigion coast at 12.50am.

Crew member Scott Barclay said that without the intervention of the all-weather lifeboat, there could well have been a tragedy.

The future of the New Quay all-weather lifeboat is currently in doubt, with the RNLI planning to replace it with an inshore Atlantic–class lifeboat next year following a coastal review. That decision is being contested by Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign.

"These guys saved our lives and our boat in the early hours of the morning, in terrible weather, the roughest seas, pitch black, poor visibility, without question, without a second thought,” said Scott.

“The call came in, they were on their way. Would we say to superman or batman 'thanks for your help, but we don't really need you?

"Basically when they got to us we were hanging on and all but ready to go over and under.

“If we had to wait longer for a lifeboat from another station they would have been coming to recover bodies and a wreck.

“These guys are heroes and this boat is essential. If this boat goes, you will be putting more pressure and stress on the boats further up and down the coast.

"Don't let people lose their lives to make you see that this boat is vital and the selfless heroes who man her. Eery boat that passes these seas can do so feeling that little bit more reassured.”

Daniel Potter, New Quay RNLI’s coxswain said, “The conditions were pretty bad out there. We had been steaming through large waves to get to the casualty and, when we arrived on scene, we could see the yacht rolling violently.

“We passed over a sea anchor to get them head to wind and then put one of our crew on board, which was fairly challenging in the conditions.

“We were then able to assess the condition of the casualties and begin the long journey back to New Quay. With the help of our inshore lifeboat we moored the casualty vessel alongside the pier.”

A spokesman for Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign said: "This incident shows just why it is essential to retain all-weather lifeboat capability in Ceredigion.

“The rescue carried out by New Quay lifeboat was clearly beyond the operating limits of an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, not only in terms of the weather conditions, but also the distance from shore and the size and weight of the casualty vessel."