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Skipper's terror on the high seas

PUBLISHED: 18:19 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:23 05 July 2010

THE skipper of a Dutch yacht revealed his terror this week as 40mph winds and 4m high seas lashed the boat and forced him to call for help.

He was at the centre of a dramatic late-night rescue in the North Sea when the Spirit of Lowestoft Lifeboat had to be launched.

THE skipper of a Dutch yacht revealed his terror this week as 40mph winds and 4m high seas lashed the boat and forced him to call for help.

He was at the centre of a dramatic late-night rescue in the North Sea when the Spirit of Lowestoft Lifeboat had to be launched.

The drama unfolded at 11.06pm on Tuesday evening when the rescue craft went to aid six crewmen who had got into difficulties aboard a 46ft Dutch yacht.

The vessel, Wind Store, had suffered engine failure 3½ miles off the coast of Lowestoft. The yacht had sailed from Holland at 9am on Tuesday and was en route to Lowestoft when it got into difficulties.

“North easterly winds had caused a very lumpy sea on the far side of the sandbank and the masthead light of the large yacht disappeared behind wave-tops as the lifeboat approached it,” Mike Richford, Lowestoft Lifeboat's press officer explained.

The lifeboat successfully passed a tow-rope and had to slowly tow the yacht to port because of the conditions, reaching the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk yacht basin nearly two hours after the lifeboat had been launched.

Back on dry land on Wednesday, the yacht skipper revealed that he and two other members of the crew were seasick during the drama.

“In 44 years of going to sea this was the first time I've been sea sick and it's the first time I've had to call for help,” he said. Recounting the dramatic rescue by the town's lifeboat, he revealed that the vessel - which is larger than the lifeboat - was “swamped” by the waves and a seat, which is securely fixed to the deck, was lifted up by the treacherous winds.

“When the lifeboat arrived at the scene the yacht was wrestling with the conditions, so it was a rather dramatic rescue,” Mr Richford said.

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