A sailor who was left drifting in the North Sea after his yacht lost its steering is now onboard a Norwegian Coastguard cutter.

The UK Coastguard has been working with its counterparts in Norway to help the man who was stuck in challenging weather conditions.

It’s now planned to take him and his yacht – under tow – back to Bergen which is expected to take some hours as it is a prolonged process.

The single-handed sailor was making his way from Lerwick to Norway when he got into difficulties.

The incident began around 8.50pm yesterday. Challenging weather conditions delayed tplans to tow the yacht to Bergen. A UK Coastguard spokesman said the sailor was in ‘no immediate danger’.

Shetland News reported that the 82-year-old sailor’s yacht, Harrier of Down’s, lost steering when its rudder broke, around 90 miles to the east of Lerwick. At one point the 25ft yacht drifted to about half a mile from the North Alwyn oil rig, which put its staff to muster stations.

The standby vessel Vos Protector attended as the yachtsman only had VHF communications and was unable to contact the shore station. It’s reported that the sailor refused to be taken off his vessel.

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The Norwegian coastguard cutter Bergen stood by the yacht to await a calm weather window to establish a tow. There was a seven metre swell in the area and winds gusting 45-50 knots.

The stricken yacht is thought to belong to Julian Mustoe, who has written a book Voyage of the Harrier about his circumnavigation of the globe, retracing Charles Darwin’s voyage aboard HMS Beagle.


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