Sailing ketch stranded in 'choppy' sea conditions sparks rescue mission

Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’ sailing ketch

Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’ safely towed the sailing ketch with engine problems. - Credit: Mick Howes

A sailing ketch that was drifting in "choppy conditions" out at sea with engine failure sparked a seven-and-a-half-hour rescue mission. 

The voluntary crew of the Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat responded to a call to assist the sailing ketch with engine problems at 2.24pm on Monday, September 27.

The crew of ‘Patsy Knight’  headed towards the vessel which was stranded 15 miles east of Orford Ness.

Lowestoft lifeboat coxswain John Fox said: "It took us almost an hour-and-a-half to reach the vessel which was drifting with its engine out of action towards a windfarm.

Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’ sailing ketch

Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’ safely towed the sailing ketch with engine problems. - Credit: Mick Howes

"The sailing ketch was a 20-metre steel hulled vessel and the single-handed skipper on board was on passage from Felixstowe to Lowestoft to undergo a refit when he realised that the engine starter motor had failed.


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"We assessed the situation and decided that towing the ketch was necessary, soon connecting a towline as we began the haul back to Lowestoft

"Sea conditions were choppy with a three to four metre swell, and a south-west wind blowing quite strongly.

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"The 28-mile journey back to Lowestoft was consequently slow and the ketch was eventually brought into port and through the bascule bridge to a mooring in Lake Lothing just before 10pm and was met by a coastguard rescue team.”

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