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Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat at sea for eleven hours assisting Dutch yacht

Lifeboats News Release

A callout in the early hours of the morning to a Dutch yacht in need of assistance turned into a long haul for Lowestoft Lifeboat

Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat Patsy Knight towing the Dutch yacht

RNLI/Mick Howes

Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat Patsy Knight towing the Dutch yacht

The east coast town’s RNLI crew was called from their beds at 2.26am and launched their lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’ to go to the aid of an 11 metre Dutch yacht, named Yvette that had lost steering when 48 miles due east of Lowestoft.

Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said “it took us almost two hours to reach the yacht and the five sailors on board told us that the yacht was on passage from Den Helder in the Netherlands to Lowestoft when it got into trouble. The rudder on the yacht had jammed hard to starboard forcing the yacht to go round in circles.

I decided to put Second Coxswain Karl Jackson on board the stranded vessel to help with the broken rudder to attempt to make the craft go in a straight line again. Trying to tow the yacht with the rudder as it was would have been a very slow process with a speed of just two knots possible - which would have meant a 24-hour tow back to port.

Karl called for some tools and a socket set to be passed from the lifeboat and with them he was able to disconnect the rudder from the steering wheel. He then managed to lash the rudder amidships so the yacht would travel in a straight-line meaning that a faster tow of seven knots could be achieved.

Karl’s reward for using his engineering skills to such good effect was a delicious chicken meal prepared by the skipper of the yacht who it emerged was a very good cook.”

After being at sea for 11 hours in increasingly worsening conditions and a metre and a half swell, the lifeboat and its crew of tired volunteers returned to Lowestoft at 1.30pm.

The ‘Patsy Knight’ Shannon-class lifeboat had only recently returned to service after a major overhaul and this long trip was a good test for her - which she successfully passed.

RNLI media contacts

● Mick Howes, Lowestoft RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07814 468917,

Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /

● Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) 07786 668825 0207 6207417

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

Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat brings the Dutch yacht into port

RNLI/Mick Howes

Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat brings the Dutch yacht into port

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland