Disabled sailor Keith White has been rescued off the Suffolk coast – scuppering his attempt at a non-stop round Britain and Ireland challenge.
The Isle of Wight yachtsman, who lost the use of his left arm in a motorway accident in 1991, set sail last month on a quest to become the first disabled sailor to achieve a non-stop round Britain and Ireland voyage.
The eventful challenge in his 14m (47ft) yacht Marathon required the resourceful yachtsman to make ongoing, temporary repairs but White had made it around the Shetland Islands and was en route south again.
However just before 7pm last night, Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat was called by UK Coastguard to go to the aid of the yachtsman, who was in difficulty 27 miles south-east of the port as his sail was damaged and his engine had failed.
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.”
Talking about his eventful voayage, Keith Said:
“damaged topsides held together with gaffa tape, little or no electrics, no communications only his Yellow Brick, and a blown out mainsail. I’m exhausted and wet. This is the first time I’ve stopped all day. Very big seas and Marathon went over to a 40 degrees angle and now everything is on the floor – and predicted winds in the North Sea are 35 knots plus.”
A lifeboat spokesman said:
“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. He was trying to raise money for the disabled sailing organization Sailability.”
Content from the Practical Boat Owner magazine.
Read more at http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/single-handed-yachtsman-keith-white-rescued-off-suffolk-coast-53359#9CU2wEcLu3vcPQHp.99
The lifeboat moored the stranded yacht in Hamilton Dock just after midnight where he was met by the Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue team.