A lone sailor was rescued after his yacht’s rudder became entangled with fishing gear in rough conditions off the coast of Cornwall.

At 4.30pm on Saturday, the Fowey all-weather lifeboat  with seven volunteer crewmembers on board, was tasked to a 36ft Nauticat Thalassa which had got into difficulties while on a trip from Falmouth to Fowey.

The lone sailor had been motor sailing due to the choppy conditions in a force 4 to 5 wind and he had seen the fishing gear too late to avoid it.  He heard the rope scrape along the hull but unfortunately it wrapped around the rudder, immobilising the yacht and jerking tighter with each wave.

He cut the engine and took down the sail.  Unfortunately the conditions were too rough for him to use his dinghy to free the rudder and he had to call the Coastguard to request help from the RNLI.

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The lifeboat arrived on scene within half an hour and the crew deployed their own inflatable to try and free the yacht.  The rope that had caught the yacht could not be reached so a tow was attached from the all-weather lifeboat to try turning the yacht into the wind and tide to give some slack to the fouling rope.

During this operation the fouling rope parted and the lifeboat towed the yacht into Fowey.

Adam Russell, on his first shout as duty mechanic, said, ‘It was a good service, the sailor had done everything he could, then sensibly waited for help rather than endangering himself.’