MORE details have emerged of the full emergency response that was sparked in the search for a yacht feared missing en route from Northern Ireland to Rhu.

The Helensburgh lifeboat crew, along with their counterparts from Largs, were called out to search for a 28-foot vessel with two people on board which had set off on Saturday afternoon.

As reported previously in the Advertiser, the sailing boat, Elida, had left the village of Ardglass, south of Belfast, around midday on May 27.

The yacht was expected to reach its destination at Rhu Marina on Sunday afternoon.

But after contact was lost with the craft, HM Coastguard requested the launch of both the Helensburgh and Largs lifeboat and a coastguard rescue helicopter based at Prestwick Airport just before 3am on Monday, May 29.

The coastguard also posted an appeal on social media urging anyone with useful information or who had spotted the boat to get in touch.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

The RNLI crew began a search around the Cumbrae islands, coordinated by the coastguard's Belfast maritime rescue co-ordination centre. 

Following the search, the Largs lifeboat crew located the missing boat at anchor in the north side of Kilchattan Bay on the Isle of Bute, shortly before sunrise.

The lifeboat crew spoke with the two people onboard the sailing boat and established they were safe and well.

It turned out that their mobile phones had both run out of battery and they had switched their VHF radio off when they went to bed.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Coastguard helicopter assisted in searchCoastguard helicopter assisted in search (Image: Newsquest)

Angus Fergusson, volunteer helm with the RNLI in Largs, said: "It is important to inform someone of your intended passage. This could be done by simply telling a friend, using RYA SafeTrx or by informing the Coastguard.

"It is also important to ensure you have a method of communication and know how it works. This could be a VHF marine radio or a fully charged mobile phone.

"In a coastal emergency you should always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard or contact the Coastguard on VHF Marine Channel 16 when at sea."

(Thanks to Brian Rankin/Largs RNLI for above lifeboat night time picture)