Penlee all-weather relief lifeboat ‘Volunteer Spirit’ and her volunteer crew launched at 1.30am this morning after receiving a tasking request from the Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre. A single handed yachtsman was in difficulties 9 nautical miles SSW of Mousehole after losing steering in a strong easterly wind that was blowing up to 30 knots and very choppy sea conditions. The solo yachtsman was attempting to cover 1000 miles to qualify for the mini Trans Atlantic race and was only 80 miles short when he got into difficulties. He had sailed from Concarneau to the west of the Isles of Scilly, then to the SE coast of Ireland and was heading back to France. ‘Volunteer Spirit’ arrived on scene in 30 minutes – because the yacht was making very little headway and had no engine it was decided to tow it to Newlyn Harbour. The yachtsman dropped his sails and a tow rope was eventually connected, both boats arrived safely in Newlyn at 4.30am. After refuelling and a wash down the volunteer crew headed home for a couple of hours sleep before going to work.