YM have warned about this shoal channel before

Their nearly-new J boat ran aground on the Hook Sands near Reculver Towers on passage from Ramsgate to London. As the £300,000 43-ft (13.1 metres) J133 Justice pounded on the firm sands her two-man crew sent out a Mayday, but as Margate Lifeboat pulled her clear it became clear she had lost her keel and she quickly filled with water.

The pair were plucked to safety unhurt by a Belgian air force helicopter based at Koksijde. Although at first reported sunk, Justice had enough buoyancy to keep her just afloat, and next day she went ashore a few miles along the coast at Herne Bay, where she was eventually salvaged. She had a huge hole in her port side.

Justice was on route from the Isle of Wight via Ramsgate to the marina at St Katharine’s, near Tower Bridge, and it is understood the crew were planning to visit the London Boat Show.

Margate lifeboatman Kevin Andrews said the situation had “deteriorated rapidly” when the boat hit the sands, but the men “probably owe their lives to raising the alarm at an early stage.”

Yachting Monthly reader Max Liberson, an experienced yacht delivery skipper, ran aground while coming through the channel ‘well after low water’ between the Margate and Hook Sands last summer in a boat drawing only 5ft. He criticised Reeds Almanac which recommended the channel for yachts of 2m or less draught.

Reeds, having seen Yachting Monthly’s online story, subsequently said they would change the details in their next publication.

Pic: by Dick Holness , author of the East Coast pilot book