Yacht with broken rigging towed into harbour by Kirkwall RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Kirkwall Lifeboat was launched at 4.40pm on 19 June when a yacht in distress with her full rigging up but jammed in the wind meant she could not manoeuvre safely.

The yacht was in the Fersness Bay area at the time in the north Isles of Orkney.  The lifeboat departed station with Coxswain Dupre Strutt and six more volunteer crew aboard.

The lifeboat (1713) arrived at the casualty, now in the area of Fersness Sound at 5.20pm to find the yacht with sails flapping and the yacht's crew of two unable to control or recover them.

The inflatable Y-boat was launched with two RNLI crew and one of these was put aboard the yacht to assist the exhausted yacht crew. The tow line was connected at 5.38pm and the Y-boat was recovered to the Lifeboat at 6.10pm.

During the passage back to Kirkwall the wind increased and the yacht's rigging started flapping in the wind again and this made the tow difficult. The Y-boat was launched again to put another RNLI crewman aboard to assist.  This was completed safely but as the Y-boat was returning to the lifeboat it capsized in the rough seas, throwing the RNLI crewman into the water.

The crewman was recovered by the lifeboat within five minutes and given first aid aboard. The Coastguard rescue helicopter arrived on the scene soon after and as a precaution the RNLI crewman was airlifted off and taken ashore to hospital for a check up.  He was kept in overnight and discharged the following morning, returning home by 9am.

Stromness lifeboat had also been launched and she escorted the Kirkwall lifeboat and casualty from the Foot of Shapinsay to Kirkwall Marina and assisted with shortening the tow and taking the casualty alongside.

The casualty was safely alongside Kirkwall Marina at 11.15pm and Kirkwall lifeboat was alongside at the Lifeboat Station, refuelled, ready for service again at 11.30pm.

RNLI media contacts:
For more information please telephone Graeme  Smith, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 08730071968 or Kirkwall@fsmail.net or Richard Smith
Media Relations Manager Scotland on 07786 668903 or richard_smith@rnli.org.uk  or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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