Wells Lifeboat rescues crew from a yacht in Holkham Bay

Lifeboats News Release

Wells lifeboats were paged at 9pm on Friday 20 March 2020 to take two crew off a 28’ yacht which had been on passage northward along the North Norfolk coast.

RNLI/Adrian Underwood

The wreck

The yacht had attempted to enter Wells Harbour but was too late on the tide and with the water ebbing took shelter in Holkham Bay. The wind was strong from the north-east. The yacht ran aground in Holkham Bay and started to take on water.

As it was nearing low water both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats left the boathouse and proceeded toward the casualty.

The inshore lifeboat (ILB) identified the boat with its navigating lights on and arrived to find the yacht hard aground. The tide was receding fast and the ILB crew were able to take both the skipper and his crew off the stranded yacht and transferred them to the local coastguard team. Fortunately, although wet, cold and tired the crew of the yacht were both able to go to the lifeboat station and were offered shelter for the night. In the interim the lifeboat crew rigged the yacht’s anchor to seaward.

During the grounding the yacht has been subject to severe wave action in the strong onshore wind and had frequently taken the bottom heavily. It was uncertain if the wooden yacht had sustained hull or keel damage as a result and it was doubtful if she would re-float on the incoming tide.

It was decided to go and assess the situation again with a view to try and re-float the yacht and tow her into Wells harbour on Saturday afternoon's high tide. Both lifeboats left the scene at 10.50pm.

When the lifeboat crew arrived on scene on Saturday morning they discovered that the yacht had not re-floated on the morning tide and the hull had, as a result, broken up in the heavy seas scattering the boat’s contents along the adjacent tide line. The lifeboat crew were able to recover the inboard fuel tanks and batteries to minimise the risk of pollution. The life raft was also landed ashore and the crew cleared the beach of debris. Both lifeboats returned to the boat house at 11am.

RNLI Picture captions

Photographs show the yacht hard aground on Holkham beach after the tide had receded from the foreshore and the Wells crews subsequently clearing up the beach area on the morning of Saturday 21 March.

For more information please contact:

Peter Rainsford, Chairman
01328 711463 / 07789 967 255

Adrian Underwood, Wells Lifeboat Deputy Press Officer, 07976 717304/ adrian@theunderwoods.co.uk

RNLI media contacts:

· Clare Hopps | Regional Media Officer (North East & East) Tel: 07824 518641 | email: clare_hopps@rnli.org.uk

· For enquiries outside of normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789


RNLI/Adrian Underwood

The vessel aground in Holkam Bay

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