Fifteen people got more than than they bargained for when their chartered rigged wooden schooner ran aground and keeled over during a trip exploring the River Fal.

Both Falmouth lifeboats were launched on Friday evening (July 13) following a report that the 28 metre gaff rigged wooden vessel, named locally as The Spirit of Falmouth, had gone aground at Turnaware Point following a mechanical failure..

The schooner, with 15 people on board, was on a charter trip exploring the River Fal in calm conditions with a light northerly wind and good visibility when the engine problem occurred. Once grounded, the vessel started to list over on its port side on a falling tide.

Both lifeboats were paged at 8.54pm and launched shortly after. The Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat Eve Pank, crewed by Claire Angove (Helm), Tom Bird and Chris Simpson, arrived on scene at 9.09pm.

The all-weather lifeboat Richard Cox Scott under the command of Coxswain/Mechanic Jonathon Blakeston with Second Coxswain Luke Wills, and crew members Dave Nicoll, Jonathon Hackwell, Jake Ingleby, Sandy Proctor, Adrian Hingston and Tamsin Mulcahy, reached the scene at 9.21pm. Portscatho Coastguard Rescue team was also tasked to assist.

On arrival, the inshore lifeboat crew confirmed that 12 of the people from the schooner were ashore on the beach with three remaining on the vessel. A crew member from the inshore lifeboat was put on board the grounded schooner to assist. The casualties were transferred by the inshore lifeboat to the all-weather lifeboat. A RIB (rigid inflatable boat) belonging to the schooner’s owners arrived on scene and three of the vessel’s crew were transferred to this boat to stand by the stranded sailing ship to await recovery. The 12 other people were taken back to Falmouth Lifeboat Station.

Falmouth RNLI Coxswain Jonathon Blakeston said: "All 15 people on board the schooner were wearing lifejackets and, in the calm conditions, were in no real danger. We were pleased to be able to help them."

The schooner was recovered on the next high tide and returned to Falmouth.