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Marine / Lifeboat comes to aid of departing race yacht

The operation is thought to be RNLI Lerwick’s 900th call-out

Photo: RNLI Lerwick

THE LERWICK lifeboat launched this morning (Sunday) to go the aid of a yacht in this year’s Shetland Races, just minutes before 35 racing yachts assembled to set off across the North Sea to Bergen.

The 12-metre Norwegian yacht with five people on board had fouled its propeller in creel lines near the Bressay marina and contacted the UK coastguard to request assistance.

The Lerwick Lifeboat crew launched at around 7.55am and made good speed across Lerwick Harbour, just as yachts assembled on the start line for the return leg to Bergen of the 2023 Shetland Races due to set off at 8am.

Passing to the north of the racing vessels, which were due to head out the south entrance of the harbour – and a 253-metre cruise ship at anchor – the lifeboat reached the stricken vessel in around five minutes.

The crew attached a line and took the vessel under tow across the harbour. However, soon after taking up the tow, the crew of the yacht were able to free the rope from their boat’s propeller and restore engine power again.

The yacht then set sails and joined the race, heading south to catch up with the other yachts which were by now passing south of Bressay.

This morning’s call-out is thought to be the 900th for the Lerwick Lifeboat since the first RNLI took up service in Lerwick Harbour in July 1930.

Lerwick Lifeboat coxswain Stephen Manson said: “It was unfortunate timing for this vessel to get caught in creel lines, just as all the racing yachts assembled this morning.

“We were able to navigate across a busy harbour to reach them quickly but thankfully the crew of the yacht were able to free the fouled rope themselves. We hope they can make up time in the race and we hope all the vessels have a safe passage across the North Sea back to Bergen.”

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