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Challenging nine hour shout for volunteers at Walton and Frinton RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution's volunteer crew at Walton and Frinton dropped everything to come to the aid of a lone sailor drifting in busy shipping lanes in his yacht.

Yacht being towed in rought seas.

RNLI/Walton & Frinton

Yacht under tow by Walton & Frinton RNLI
Just after midday on Friday 16 September the UK Coastguard requested that the lifeboat launch to assist a yacht which had its sails blown out and had an unreliable engine, the lone yachtsman on board was also suffering with sea sickness.

With no means of propulsion the yacht was drifting in the deep water shipping channel close to sand banks. In a freshening wind and with seas building the Tamar class all-weather lifeboat set out to assist the vessel which was 20 miles south-east of Walton Pier.

Once the lifeboat arrived on scene the coxswain decided the safest option was to tow the yacht to the nearest safe harbour, a distance of 24 nautical miles. With the tide against them and speed restricted by the tow the journey to Harwich Harbour took nearly seven hours.

Once in the shelter of the River Orwell the lifeboat transferred a crew member to the yacht to assess the condition of the sailor and assist him with mooring in Levington Marina.

After securing the casualty vessel and refuelling at Harwich the lifeboat, Irene Muriel Rees, eventually returned to her berth at Walton Pier just after 9pm.

Volunteer RNLI crew member Richard Wyatt said of the shout: 'It was as job well done in, at times, challenging conditions. As is often the case, assistance given at an early stage can stop a bad situation developing into something far worse.'

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please telephone Miranda Rayner, Walton and Frinton RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799691852 or [email protected]

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 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.