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AN oil painting dramatically depicting a yacht that lost its rudder in heavy seas while competing in a night-time race around the Isle of Wight in the late 1960s is to be hung at the new RNLI lifeboat station at Cowes.

The painting was donated by Geoff Dines who had been crewing aboard the yacht, Great Bear. when it suffered the rudder loss in heavy seas off Dunnose Point, between Bonchurch and Shanklin.

Geoff, of Worsley Road, Gurnard, who was one of the six strong crew, recalled there was a freshening south-easterly at the time. “We were reaching fast with full sails when suddenly the rudder sheared off at water level.”

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Eventually a paddle was suitably secured to serve as a make-shift rudder and a course set offshore to south of the Nab Tower. “By this time the wind had increased to gale-force. A passing liner, Chusan, hove to on our weather side, enabling Bembridge RNLI lifeboat to put a line aboard. It towed us to Bembridge Harbour, to the grateful thanks of the exhausted crew of the Great Bear.”

Although Great Bear was owned and built by a Cowes businessman, the late Michael Henderson, he was not aboard for the race. The painting was the work of another crew regular also absent on that night, Sam Deaken.

Helming Great Bear for the race, which was organised by the Island Sailing Club, was Harold Sturge.

Geoff is the father of Steve Dines, a Deputy Launch Authority at the Cowes station, and a former lifeboat crew member.

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