Round-the-UK sailors and their cat rescued off Scarborough after their boat becomes tangled in lobster pots

A ship's cat was among the crew brought to shore by Scarborough RNLI after a pleasure yacht became tangled in lobster pot lines while sailing in darkness.

By Grace Newton
Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 3:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 3:46 pm
Artie wearing his feline lifejacket
Artie wearing his feline lifejacket

The 12-metre vessel was sailing non-stop from Inverness to Lowestoft when its propeller became entangled in the lines, which warn of the presence of lobster pots, on the night of August 24.

The yacht had no light and therefore 'no chance' of spotting the white canisters before striking them.

Both Scarborough's Shannon and inshore lifeboats were sent to the scene to try and cut the lines free after the boat foundered six miles north of the town.

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Artie with his owner Tim Heale

Once on board, they discovered experienced sailors Tim and Row Heale, from Gosport in Hampshire, and their cat Artie, a British shorthair who appeared unperturbed by the experience.

Artie was given a special feline lifejacket and remained asleep throughout the rescue mission.

RNLI crewman Paul Huggins said: “The cat was asleep in its cage but the door was open. It was just quite happy in its bed”.

The Heales have now made a donation to the RNLI and thanked them for their assistance.

RNLI crews work to untangle the yacht from the lobster pot lines

“We contacted the Coastguard with our position when we found ourselves immobilised, as our radar showed large commercial vessels approaching us, albeit at a distance”, said Tim.

“We had sailed non-stop from Inverness when we found ourselves in trouble and the crews from RNLI Scarborough came to our assistance.

“Our meagre contribution probably wouldn’t cover your pager bill let alone the boats’ fuel bill, but from our hearts, and Artie the ship’s cat, we thank you”.

Tim and Row are members of the Army Sailing Association and the Royal Yachting Association. They moor their boat, Hallberg Rassy 36 Talavera, at the Hornet Services Sailing Club in Gosport

Artie has a pet passport and is described as being 'well-travelled', having sailed with the couple since he was a kitten.

“He’s now into his second lifejacket - he outgrew the first one - and he loves going ashore in the dinghy or our kayak”.

Being a cat, Artie avoids water but once got his tail wet when Tim and Row forgot to put his lead on the extended setting when leaping onto a pontoon.

“He went donk mid-flight into the oggin, but he was hooked out to safety immediately.

“Don’t be fooled by his grumpy look, he loves being on board”.

The family regularly sail around Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Baltic, but this summer opted to sail clockwise around the UK, only going ashore for essential supplies.