Single-handed yachtsman Keith White has completed his round-Britain voyage – despite a ‘rescue’ scuppering the non-stop aspect of his quest.
The Isle of Wight yachtsman, who lost the use of his left arm in a motorway accident in 1991, set sail in May with the aim of becoming the first disabled sailor to achieve a non-stop round Britain and Ireland voyage.
White had made it around the Shetland Islands in his 14m (47ft) yacht Marathon and was en route south again when the Coastguard advised him to accept assistance on 11 June off Lowestoft.
Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat went to the aid of the yachtsman, who was 27 miles south-east of the port. Lifeboat crew said White’s sail had ripped and his engine had failed.
Keith White said it was not a ‘rescue’. He told PBO: ‘I was ordered in by Dover coastguard as a big storm was on its way and I went in under protest as it was a windfarm boat reported that Marathon did not look good and they were from Lowestoft. They called the RNLI out from their home port.
‘The 45-mile trip would have taken all night and as they had to work the next day, they asked if I would take a tow to this I agreed to help them.’
The Isle of Wight yachtsman aims to become the first disabled sailor to achieve a non-stop round Britain and Ireland…
A Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat spokesman said: “The sailor was a bit upset about having to be rescued."
A total of 1,342 yachts turned out to compete in Round the Island Race 2017, with the 70ft trimaran Concise…
Just three days later, White announced on his Facebook page ‘Keith White – Disabled Sailor’ that he would be completing his trip, and he crossed his Isle of Wight finishing line on 18 June, after completing a total of 2,470 miles.
Shortly after finishing his voyage, White was admitted into hospital and treated for septicemia. He managed to recover in time to compete in the Round the Island Race, but had to retire from the race.
Yarmouth RNLI attended Marathon during last Saturday’s race when White collapsed with suspected appendicitis.
The call came in at 8.05am. The lifeboat came alongside the yacht just off Hurst Castle and White was transferred to the lifeboat before being airlifted to hospital by the UK Coastguard’s Search and Rescue Helicopter.
White added: ‘As for the round the RTIR it was me that got lifted off. I was in a bad way.’