Yesterday, 8th August, Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew spent more than nine hours at sea going to the aid of a yacht aground off the Treshnish Isles .
Their Severn class lifeboat, Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey, launched at 10.25 following a ‘mayday’ call from a yacht with three persons on board, which was hard aground off Lunga in the Treshnish Isles, off the west coast of Mull.
Several other nearby vessels also responded to the call, including the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, Clansman, which diverted from its crossing to Coll and Tiree.
A RIB from a local fish farm also responded with an off duty lifeboat crew member aboard. Together with his fish farm colleagues, they successfully took the three persons off the yacht shortly before the arrival of the lifeboat.
The three persons were then transferred to the lifeboat and meanwhile two lifeboat volunteer crew members were deployed in the lifeboat’s daughter craft, a small inflateable dinghy, to assess the damage to the yacht.
No apparent damage was found and the yacht did not appear to be taking on water.
As high water was some hours away, the crew members secured the vessel with a stern anchor and the lifeboat returned to Tobermory to await the rising tide.
The lifeboat launched again at 15.37 to attempt to refloat the yacht. Despite the worsening weather, with the sea conditions deteriorating and the wind gusting at 30mph, the lifeboat successfully established a tow and took the yacht to sheltered waters off the island of Gometra.
A salvage pump was taken aboard as some water ingress had been discovered. The yacht with two lifeboat crew aboard was towed to Tobermory, arriving there shortly after 21.00.
Tobermory lifeboat returned to station and was refuelled and made ready for service at 2140.
This was Tobermory RNLI’s second ‘shout’ in 12 hours, following a launch on the evening of Wednesday 7th August to a vessel taking on water in Loch Sunart. In this instance, the lifeboat was stood down en route to the scene when another boat gave assistance.
Tobermory RNLI Coxswain Andrew McHaffie said: ‘This was a lengthy but ultimately successful operation and we’re all pleased that we managed to recover the yacht and its crew to Tobermory. I’d particularly like to thank all those vessels which responded to the ‘Mayday’ call, without whom the situation could have been much graver.’
This was Tobermory RNLI’s 27th and 28th launch of 2013. The photograph shows the yacht aground off Lunga with the Royal Navy’s search and rescue helicopter in attendance.
Photograph: RNLI/Sam Jones