Mick Hoey and his crewman came to the rescue of the sailor off the coast of Myrtleville.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Liveline today, Mr Hoey, who was working on shrimp pods at the time with his crewman Cian, said he spotted the fire on the yacht – which was being operated by a man named Alan Mulcahy - and he made a “beeline” for him.
Mr Hoey said as he approached the vessel he lost sight of Mr Mulcahy, such was the amount of black smoke which was coming from the yacht.
“As I steamed up and came around the side of him, I was only about 20 yards away from him when we both saw each other and I kind of saw the relief, came along side him and he jumped aboard,” he said.
Mr Hoey explained that as he approached the yacht his biggest concern was that it might contain a diesel engine which could explode.
“Cian, the lad that was with me, I just kind of said, ‘just prepare everything, this is a one-shot thing. We’ll come in beside him, we’ll get him off as fast as we can’.
“The man in the boat Alan, he said to me afterwards that she wasn’t diesel so things kind of relaxed, but it was a hairy kind of a moment alright,” he added.
Mr Hoey, who has over 40 years seafaring experience, said things can go wrong quickly at sea and the situation “came out of the blue”.
In a statement released to Liveline, the yacht owner Alan Mulcahy – who has over 30 years sailing experience – said the engine on board his vessel exploded, and Mr Hoey and his assistant Cian saved his life.
“When I was steaming up to him my main concern was I wasn’t sure I was going to make him on time. I didn’t have the speed, I gave her every last once of energy she had and it all ended well anyway and I know Alan is grateful,” Mr Hoey added.
In a message posted on Facebook following the rescue, Crosshaven RNLI said: “Shortly before noon today, the crew at Crosshaven RNLI were alerted to a sailboat on fire in the Myrtleville / Fish Point area.
“A local boatman, Mick Hoey, was fortunately nearby and sped to the scene and took off the one person on board to safety.
"The owner was then brought to Crosshaven by the Port of Cork RIB. The owner was checked out at the lifeboat station by our lifeboat doctor before being collected by a relative. The lifeboat remained on scene until the vessel sank.”