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‘He was scared’: Injured sailor rescued from yacht drifting for two days

PUBLISHED: 23:09 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 23:09 07 October 2020

The Lowestoft Lifeboat crew rescues a sailor drifting aboard a yacht for two days. Picture: Mick Howes

The Lowestoft Lifeboat crew rescues a sailor drifting aboard a yacht for two days. Picture: Mick Howes

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A lifeboat crew rescued a solo sailor aboard a yacht that suffered engine failure and had been drifting for two days.

The Lowestoft Lifeboat crew rescues a sailor drifting aboard a yacht for two days. Picture: Mick HowesThe Lowestoft Lifeboat crew rescues a sailor drifting aboard a yacht for two days. Picture: Mick Howes

The volunteer crew of the Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’ rescued the solo sailor from the six-metre yacht that was drifting off the Suffolk coast close to a windfarm and needed urgent help.

The hapless sailor had been spotted by one of the many oil tankers moored at the Southwold Anchorage who contacted UK Coastguard.

The Lowestoft Lifeboat crew rescues a sailor drifting aboard a yacht for two days. Picture: Mick HowesThe Lowestoft Lifeboat crew rescues a sailor drifting aboard a yacht for two days. Picture: Mick Howes

They requested a nearby guard boat to check the welfare of the seaman, who subsequently asked for the lifeboat to be launched while the guard boat stood by the craft.

With Patsy Knight called out just before 11am on Wednesday, October 7 to go to the aid of the six-metre yacht, lifeboat coxswain John Fox said: “It took us over an hour to reach the vessel which was 24-miles east of Lowestoft.

“On arrival the solo sailor on the vessel told us that he had bought the yacht in Canvey Island on Monday and immediately set sail, hoping to reach Newcastle.

“But the next day, unfortunately, he lost all power so had no electrics, no engine, communications or navigation.

“When we got to him he had been drifting for two days and was getting very close to the East Anglia One wind farm.

Lifeboat crew member Philip Holdsworth added: “He had injured his hand so was unable to sail.

“I was put onto the yacht to help him. He was scared, tired, cold and hungry, so we gave him some food and water to drink.

“The sea conditions were moderate with a one to two metre swell, although it was quite windy.

“We connected a towline and started heading back to port but after an hour the sailor’s condition deteriorated so the decision was taken to move him onto the lifeboat and replace him on the yacht by another member of our crew.

“It took us five-and-a-half hours to tow the yacht back to Lowestoft and during the trip it was taking in quite a lot of water and we had to pump it out on three occasions.

“On arrival at the RNSYC Marina, the yachtsman was met by the police and by members of Lowestoft Coastguard rescue team.”


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