RNLI volunteers were called following reports of a person in the water on the anniversary of a lifeboat crew’s most dramatic rescues in recent times.

The Eastbourne crew were given an early alarm at just before 4.30am on October 20 to assist with a search of the north harbour at Sovereign Harbour.

The casualty was located by other agencies and extracted from the water.

The call came on the 20th anniversary of the dramatic rescue of the crew of the yacht Paperchase.

A couple on board the 33ft yacht were attempting to make the safety of Sovereign Harbour but were unable to do so due to 50mph winds and stormy seas.

The pair were washed overboard in the incident. While the woman made it to the lifeboat, lifeboatman Dan Guy leapt into the sea to save the man, who was struggling against the waves.

A spokesman for Eastbourne lifeboat told The Argus at the time: “It was a tricky operation in very difficult conditions.

“The wind was blowing at 46mph plus and it was dark.

“The yacht was at the entrance to the harbour and the lifeboat had intended to bide its time until the conditions dropped and then help it in, but it didn’t work like that.

“Within five minutes of us getting here, the yacht ran aground, became swamped and started to sink and the people on board were knocked into the water.

“The woman made it to the lifeboat herself, but the man was difficulties, so Dan went to get him. It was an extreme case and a brave thing to do.”

The Argus: Coxswain for the Paperchase mission Mark Sawyer, right, and Dan GuyCoxswain for the Paperchase mission Mark Sawyer, right, and Dan Guy (Image: Alan Jones)

The couple, from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, were taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital suffering from shock and hypothermia. Both made a full recovery.

Following the incident, coxswain Mark Sawyer - who led the seven-strong lifeboat crew, received the RNLI’s silver medal for gallantry, with Dan Guy awarded the bronze medal.