One of the roughest launches for years as Wells lifeboat goes to the aid of King’s Lynn fishing boat

The Mersey class is launched at Wells Lifeboat Station. Picture: Ian Burt

The Mersey class is launched at Wells Lifeboat Station. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Lifeboats launched in horrendous weather to the aid of a stricken fishing boat.

Allen Frary. Picture: Ian Burt

Allen Frary. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

King's Lynn-based Lucky Luke had suffered a damaged rudder as a fierce gale lashed The Wash.

You could barely stand up on the beach by the boatshed on Thursday night, as Wells lifeboat the Doris M Mann put to sea in a force nine north-westerly blow.

When they say there's nothing between Wells and the North Pole to get in the way of the weather, they mean it. Just ask the crew.

'It wasn't pleasant, put it that way,' said Allen Frary, Cox'n of the Wells lifeboat for 18 years.

'There was a good bit of swell, anything up to four - four and a half metre swells on the way down into The Wash.

'The way the wind was, that was more or less on our bow, so that made for a bit of a lively trip down there.'

Most Read

Half an hour or so after launching, as they neared Hunstanton, the lifeboat and its sister vessel from Skegness in Lincolnshire, which had also been launched, were stood down.

Lucky Luke's three-strong crew had repaired her steering and she had reached calmer waters in the Kings Lynn Channel. All had survived their ordeal safely.

Mr Frary said the ride home was smoother than the trip out for the lifeboat. But there was one more obstacle to clear before they could pull off their seaboots and their oilskins.

'Wells Bar, with any northerly wind, can be a bit of a tricky place to be,' he added. 'We had to be very careful how we negotiated it.'

After safely crossing the bar's raging ebb currents, the lifeboat returned to its boathouse safe and sound at 11.30pm.

'It was the roughest trip for a few years,' said Mr Frary. 'I've seen it rougher than that, winds up to 100mph.

'Well, the anenometer on the boat got up to 99mph and then the top blew off it so we never really knew how strong it was.'