TWO men ran a yacht they had bought just hours earlier on to rocks and then had to be helped by the RNLI, who took the boat to safety.

The would-be sailors, who did not have a chart to help them navigate, had tried to avoid the coastal windfarm at Redcar on their way to Hartlepool Marina but were too close to shore and hit the rocks.

An off-duty RNLI volunteer had seen the eight-metre long boat aground about half a mile north-west of Redcar’s seafront lifeboat station just after 6pm on Saturday and raised the alarm.

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The men, thought to be from the Tyne and Wear area, had bought the boat at Whitby earlier in the day. Low tide was still almost three hours away when volunteers from both Redcar’s lifeboats arrived.

Dave Cocks from Redcar RNLI said: “When our volunteer crew got alongside the yacht, the two men on board told them that one of the men had just bought the yacht and this was their first attempt to sail it.

“In an attempt to avoid sailing through the Teesside Wind Farm, they decided to stay close inshore but unfortunately that brought then into contact with the rocks off Redcar.”

The second-hand yacht was checked for damage, and its two-man crew opted to remain on board and await the rising tide. Two RNLI volunteers also remained on board.

The lifeboats returned to station and the RNLI crews were placed on standby until low tide when two of the crew walked out to the vessel to recheck its condition. The lifeboats re-launched at 11.30pm and the yacht was re-floated at 11.40pm.

It was then escorted while it made the two-hour passage to Hartlepool under its own engine, helmed by an RNLI crew member.

Mr Cocks said: “Neither of the yacht’s crew was able to navigate at night so two of our crew remained on board for the passage to Hartlepool.

"The yacht was not carrying navigation charts so, even if they had been qualified, they couldn’t have plotted a route to the marina at Hartlepool.”

Only one of the yacht’s crew had been involved with sailing a boat previously. The boat was not damaged and no-one was hurt.