Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat called to help a Dutch yacht that had lost its rudder
The sailors on a yacht that was returning to the Netherlands after a visit to the UK activated their distress alert equipment to summon assistance after their rudder fell off.
The volunteer crew of Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’ were paged at 9.15pm (Wednesday 28 August) to go to the aid of the vessel.
Lowestoft RNLI Coxswain John Fox said, "It took us just over an hour to reach the yacht, which was 26 miles east of Southwold and very close to the East Anglian One offshore wind farm.
The four-man crew were a family of three brothers and a nephew. They told us that they had sailed the wooden nine-metre yacht, which had been built by their father in the mid 1980s, to Southwold and then to Ipswich and were on their way back to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands when the steering failed.
After discovering that their rudder had dropped off they activated their distress alarm. A nearby Windfarm Guard Vessel responded and stood by the stranded yacht and also acted as a communication relay until the lifeboat arrived.
We put a lifeboat crew-member on board the yacht to deploy a drogue behind the vessel. This is a conical funnel-shaped device with open ends, which is towed behind the yacht to keep it travelling in a straight line
There was a good breeze blowing and the sea was rolling well as we connected a towline. With the drag of the drogue we were only able to make just over 3 knots so it was a long, slow tow taking over seven hours. As dawn was breaking the yacht was brought safely into the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Marina at Lowestoft at 6.30am and was met by the town’s Coastguard Rescue Team."
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