Lowestoft lifeboat called to yacht drifting for two days

Lifeboats News Release

On Wednesday 7 October, Lowestoft lifeboat crew were called to help a solo sailor on a yacht seen to be drifting off the Suffolk coast and needing urgent help.

The sailor had been spotted by one of the many oil tankers moored at the Southwold Anchorage who contacted UK Coastguard. They requested a nearby guard boat to check the welfare of the seaman. They subsequently asked for the lifeboat to be launched while the guard boat stood by the craft.

The volunteer crew of the Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat Patsy Knight was called out just before 11.00am to go to the aid of the six metre yacht.

Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said: 'It took us over an hour to reach the vessel which was 24 miles East of Lowestoft. On arrival the solo sailor on the vessel told us that he had bought the yacht in Canvey Island on Monday and immediately set sail, hoping to reach Newcastle. But the next day unfortunately he lost all power so had no electrics, no engine, communications or navigation. When we got to him he had been drifting for two days and was getting very close to the East Anglia One Wind farm.'

Lifeboat crew member Philip Holdsworth added: 'He had injured his hand so was unable to sail. I was put onto the yacht to help him. He was tired, cold and hungry, so we gave him some food and water to drink.

'The sea conditions were moderate with a one to two metre swell, although it was quite windy. We connected a towline and started heading back to port but after an hour the sailor’s condition deteriorated so the decision was taken to move him onto the lifeboat and replace him on the yacht by another member of our crew.

'It took us five and a half hours to tow the yacht back to Lowestoft and during the trip it was taking in quite a lot of water and we had to pump it out on three occasions. On arrival at the RNSYC Marina, the yachtsman was met by the Police and by members of Lowestoft Coastguard Rescue Team.'

RNLI media contacts

Mick Howes, Lowestoft RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
01502 562488 / 07814 468917 email mickhowes@hotmail.com

Clare Hopps RNLI Regional Media Officer (North East & East), Tel 07824 518641 Clare_Hopps@rnli.org.uk

Jim RIce, RNLI Regional Media Manager, Tel: 07810 658 072. Jim_Rice@rnli.org.uk

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

Lowestoft RNLI

Lowestoft Lifeboat with the drifting yacht

Lowestoft RNLI

The drifting yacht brought to safety in Lowestoft

Key facts about the RNLI

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, in a normal year, 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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