Lifeboat crew aids Dutch yacht after rudder falls off
PUBLISHED: 10:25 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 29 August 2019
A lifeboat crew was involved in a late night rescue assisting a four-man crew aboard a stranded Dutch yacht.
The Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat was alerted to help a wooden 9m Dutch yacht after its steering failed.
The sailors on the yacht, which was returning to The Netherlands after a visit to the UK, activated their distress alert equipment to summon assistance after their rudder fell off.
It sparked a long call-out, spanning more than nine hours, after the yacht lost its rudder about 26-miles east of Southwold and near to the East Anglian One offshore windfarm.
The volunteer crew of Lowestoft lifeboat 'Patsy Knight' were alerted at 9.15pm on Wednesday, August 28 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."
Mr Fox added: "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 three knots so it was a long, slow tow taking over six hours."
As dawn was breaking, the yacht was brought safely into the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Marina at Lowestoft at 6.30am, where it was met by coastguard rescue officers from HM Coastguard Lowestoft.