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Scarborough RNLI Goes on Longest Job

The lifeboat was called to help a yacht which had engine failure, 56 miles out to sea.

Scarborough RNLI’s all-weather Shannon lifeboat has been taken to the limits of its capabilities on one of the station’s longest shouts.

A yacht sailing from the German island of Heligoland to Newcastle suffered engine failure yesterday, 56 miles out to sea.

The sea state was rough, with a strong northerly swell and a cold north-westerly wind blowing at force six.

The crew of three on the 14m, 25-ton, twin-masted ketch Mohican 2 issued a May Day call on its VHF radio, which has a range of about 25 miles.

The SOS was relayed to the coastguard by rig-support vessel Vos Trader, which then went to the sailboat and stood by until the Shannon arrived at about 1pm, three hours after launching.

The lifeboat attached a tow rope and a casualty drogue, a kind of nautical parachute, to the yacht, to control the distance between the two boats and avoid a collision on the long journey to shore.

The high-tech lifeboat’s speed was about 25 knots on the way out but only seven knots on the way home. The return voyage took about nine hours. However, the rescue would have taken about five hours longer using Scarborough RNLI’s previous all-weather lifeboat, a Mersey.

The yacht was positioned on the visitors’ pontoon in the harbour at about 10.30pm. After rehousing the lifeboat, its crew - two full-timers and four volunteers - and the shore crew finally got to bed at about midnight.

The rescue was one of Scarborough RNLI’s shouts in terms of distance and time.