Footage shows moment disabled sailor is rescued by Lowestoft lifeboat crew after getting stranded off Suffolk coast

RNLI rescue of Keith White off the coast of Lowestoft.

RNLI rescue of Keith White off the coast of Lowestoft. - Credit: Archant

Dramatic footage has been released by the RNLI showing the moment a disabled sailor had to be rescued by a lifeboat crew.

Marathon of Guernsey is towed back into port by Lowestoft lifeboat. Picture: RNLI/Philip Holdsworth

Marathon of Guernsey is towed back into port by Lowestoft lifeboat. Picture: RNLI/Philip Holdsworth - Credit: Archant

Yachtsman Keith White was taking part in a challenge to sail non-stop around Britain when he got into difficulties and had to be rescued off the Suffolk coast from his yacht Marathon of Guernsey.

The Lowestoft lifeboat was launched at 7pm on Sunday, June 11 to rescue the yachtsman after the boat's sail was damaged and its engine failed 27-miles south-east of the port.

The Isle of Wight yachtsman, who lost the use of his left arm in a motorway accident in 1991, hoped to become the first disabled sailor to circumnavigate the British Isles single handed, non-stop.

Mr White's journey - which began on May 12 - had taken him from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, clockwise around the British Isles.

Marathon of Guernsey in port with its damaged sail after being towed back by Lowestoft lifeboat. Pic

Marathon of Guernsey in port with its damaged sail after being towed back by Lowestoft lifeboat. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

His aim was to finish back home in the Isle of Wight but he got into difficulties after enduring some bad weather.

The lifeboat towed the stranded yacht back into Lowestoft, mooring in Hamilton Dock just after midnight - where he was met by the Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue team.

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Lifeboat coxswain John Fox said: 'It took us about an hour to reach the stranded 14m (47ft) yacht whose full name was Marathon of Guernsey, and when we arrived we could see that the vessel's sail had ripped.

'A wind farm crew transfer vessel had been standing by the yacht until we got there.

'The skipper of the yacht was very tired so we put one of our volunteer crew on board to help him and then connected a towline to bring the craft to Lowestoft.

'The sea was a bit lumpy with some heavy swells.

On the Facebook page Keith White Disabled Sailor, it said the yacht 'has damaged topsides held together with gaffa tape, little or no electrics, no communications only his yellow brick, and a blown out mainsail'.

A lifeboat spokesman added: 'The sailor was a bit upset about having to be rescued.

'He told us that he had also been rammed by an Irish fisherman earlier in the trip.

'He had encountered bad weather with really strong winds over the past few days and the yacht had been knocked down by a heavy wave, which is why all his electrics had gone and he was unable to restart his engine.'

Mr White is raising money for the disabled sailing organisation Sailability.

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