The Norwegian lifeboat KV Bergen finally succeeded on boarding Harrier of Down, helmed by round-the-world yachtsman Julian Mustoe, at just before 4pm this afternoon, and has begun towing him to shore.
Ståle Vorland, the lifeboat’s captain, told Norway’s Aftenposten that his crew had found Mustoe freezing in his underwear, having stripped off all his wet clothing.
He said that the ongoing storm meant it had taken the rescue crew two hours to come alongside.
“The salvage out here took about two hours due to high seas - 7.8 meters - and high winds (gale / strong storm-force winds),” he wrote in an email. “There were acts of exemplary seamanship from ordinary seamen, apprentices and officers, to come alongside, and get the skipper safely aboard.”
Due to their slow speed, they do not expect to reach the city of Bergen before Thursday afternoon.
Mustoe called coastguards at 8.50pm last night after the rudder broke on the 25-foot yacht in heavy weather midway between Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, and he began drifting towards the Alwyn North gad platform, which had 162 people on board.
Vos Prospector, an oil industry standby vessel from the nearby the Dunbar gas field tried to attach a tow line to the Harrier of Down but could not because of the seven metre waves.
Mr Mustoe lives permanently on the Harrier of Down, circumnavigating the glove between 2001 and 2012, retracing the route of Charles Darwin and the HMS Beagle.
He was on his way to Norway at the start of a new adventure, following the trade routes of the Hanseatic League of merchants.
Two helicopters were put on stand-by in collaboration with the Norwegian coastguard, but Mustoe refused to be airlifted, as he did not want to abandon his yacht.