Lifejacket saves crew member in race

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A lifejacket was credited with helping save a man after he was blown overboard in a yacht race off the East Coast yesterday morning.

Three yachts on the return leg of a race from Whitby to Scarborough encountered problems in force seven to eight winds.

Scarborough lifeboat was already under way to help the yacht Martina, which made a Mayday call after suffering engine failure, when it was diverted to a second yacht, Shameless, which reported a man overboard, between Ravenscar and Scarborough. Whitby lifeboat was also launched.

A crew member managed to hold the man at the stern of the yacht and eventually dragged him in.

He was transferred to Scarborough lifeboat and then airlifted to hospital by an air sea rescue helicopter from RAF Leconfield with mild hypothermia.

A spokeswoman from Humber Coastguard said: “He was fine apart from the effect of being in water. He was conscious throughout. He had a lifejacket on which undoubtedly made a big difference.”

While the emergency services were dealing with the two incidents, another yacht, Bandit, reported it had lost engine power and was taking a battering and required assistance.

It was taken under tow by Whitby lifeboat which brought it safely into Scarborough by 11.15am.

Humber Coastguard said weather conditions had been deteriorating, with wind speeds reported of between 30 and 40 knots.

Other yachts were due to sail but had cancelled.

A spokesman said the yachts were coming virtually head down into the wind.

He said the conditions were “a bit severe for the size of the boats they were in”.