Islay lifeboat at yacht emergency out at the Skerryvore

[Updated 15.45 below] ; Islay’s RNLI lifeboat. the Severn class Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit II, launched at 00.36 this morning to go to the aid of a 40′ yacht that had made a distress call after hitting the reef at the Skerrvore light, 12 miles SW of Tiree.

Conditions at this dangerous location were such that the lifeboat’s skilled volunteer crew were unable to secure a tow to the casualty yacht and a coastguard helicopter is now involved to get the skipper off.

The passage ftom her home station at Port Askaig on the Sound of Islay out to the Skerryvore will have been a challenging one, passing the other major wrecking reef of the Torran Rocks at the Dubh Artach Light on the way.

Update 15.45: The Barra lifeboat was also involved in ths shout, which finished with the skipper being airliftd to safety. We do not yet have information on the fate of the yacht but the report on the prevailing sea and weather conditions at the Skerryvore reef would not signal optimism.

The Islay lifeboat is on her way home after a long shout – through the Sound of Mull and heading south down the Firth of Lorn, passing the entrance to Loch Spelve.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • I saw the Deep Energy, pipelayer, changing course and then the Islay and Barra Lifeboats meeting with her West of Coll. They all seem to be standing down now, or was this another incident?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Murdoch MacKenzie February 16, 2016 1:50 pm Reply

    It is great news that the “solo” sailor is now safe and well, and that all rescue services personnel are also safe.

    I have spent a lot of time out in the area of the light, both involved in a previous basking shark count and running folk out to Skerryvore in good weather with a safe swell…and in a powerful rhib.

    When safer passages around Tiree are so obvious…there is no rational reason why a yacht should be in this area during bad weather … on can only wonder what in the hell this skipper was up to…risking his own life but more seriously other peoples lives.

    In regards to pulling off this rescue I have the deepest respect for all involved….well done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

    Karl Hughes February 16, 2016 1:53 pm Reply
    • Thanks for that Karl, interesting and informative article. However, Murdoch wouldn’t believe it, it came from the BBC.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

      RichieMac February 16, 2016 1:57 pm Reply
    • This was the conditions at midnight last night 76kph Storm, Onshore…Primary Swell..5.2m at 12s
      Rain Air 9°c Sea 9 °c
      High tide would have been around midnight too… I takes brave people to rescue sombody in such conditios.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

      Karl Hughes February 16, 2016 2:26 pm Reply
      • Awful conditions last night and continuing today on Tiree. I too noticed on Marine Traffic the pipe layer, Deep Energy, and Barra/Islay lifeboats all three converging NE of Tiree. However barra lifeboat is now safely back home and Islay lifeboat heading down Sound of Mull while Deep Energy seems to be continuing its work, (still in dreadful conditions at 3pm). Like Karl, I have the deepest admiration and respect for the crews that turn out in these dreadful conditions, and I’m very thankful that all seem to be returning safely to their home ports. As for the 40′ yacht in trouble off Skerryvore. That is by anyone’s reckoning a very big `yacht’, and I wonder why the apparently single handed skipper did not seek shelter prior to last nights well forecast weather? Like Karl says, Skerryvore is not a place to be around in a 5m+ swell.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

        Ian Gillies February 16, 2016 3:37 pm Reply
  • Someone suggested that DEEP ENERGY might have been providing some shelter whilst they assisted the yacht.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    Lundavra February 16, 2016 4:04 pm Reply
  • Correct…friends on Tiree watched most of the ( daytime) event through binoculars… pretty hit or miss in such conditions…and all are lucky to be in a warm bed tonight…. skipper of the yacht was a total fool…to be is such conditions in such a nightmare scenario….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

    Karl Hughes February 16, 2016 6:54 pm Reply
    • I’m sure he feels a bit foolish himself, but without knowing all the facts I will not pass judgement. Making single handed passages can sometimes leave us in the wrong place between the wind and the shore with broken equipment or even a broken engine. Things happen unexpectedly at sea whether it is a sailing or a motor yacht and the rougher the weather the more chance of getting into trouble.
      Where was he coming from, maybe on a long passage, trying to get into shelter as he may not have had enough sea room to ride the storm out.
      He’ll be thankful for the valour of the lifeboat crews and the assistance of the crew of the Deep Energy in coming over to make a lee for the lifeboats. We should all be thankful that others will always help us when we get in trouble.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie February 16, 2016 7:46 pm Reply
  • jEeze MM I totally agree that we should be thankfull that there are those who will put their safety at risk for others…. total respect.

    In regards to a passage around Skerryvore and the reefs beyond, and please remember Tiree is my home and I have sailed the waters for the last 17 years.

    SSW gale + forcast for 24+ hours… head to safe haven… not South W of Tiree thats for sure.
    SSW gale + forcast for 24+ hours… and you are sailing with the wind on your tail, bear east and to Tobemory…
    All other aporoaches so a total lack of planning expected by a skipper.

    Coming in from the West, wind on the beam… ride the swell and keep the wind on your starboard quarter …seek shelter north of Tiree or beyond…

    blah, blah, blah… I hate to make a call on the info given..maybe he laist a sail SSW/ S of the reef…. but any boat sailed solo in such conditions in such a globally known rough area… raises the question as to the experience or rum ration of the skipper…

    nav error ? yep maybe… anyhow, all are now safe… hopefully all who sail this area can learn by the skippers mistakes… and thankfully not via a fatal incident enquiry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

    Karl Hughes February 16, 2016 8:27 pm Reply
  • Reports this morning from Moira Kerr, Argyll journalist, suggest that police have confirmed to her that a man, (possibly Russian), from the yacht incident NE of Tiree yesterday, has been arrested, ‘under international warrant’.
    This may explain the clearly desperate nature of the yacht skippers actions, and also the puzzling lack of any transponder on the stricken yacht. Possibly more will emerge on news channels this morning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    Ian Gillies February 17, 2016 8:14 am Reply

    Russian Skipper arrested under international warrant…. the plot thickens…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Karl Hughes February 17, 2016 1:29 pm Reply
  • It does tend to explain the reckless actions of the yacht skipper if he fully realised that he was about to spend an evening answering police questions in Edinburgh’s High Street. The mayday call must have been a hard one for him to make, no doubt spurred on by what the Castlebay RNLI spokesman described as the skipper, ‘getting a bit of a fright’. Very nicely put!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    Ian Gillies February 17, 2016 1:56 pm Reply
  • “The mayday call must have been a hard one for him to make”, yes I am sure it was, and even harder for the coastguard to translate…

    A 40′ yacht seems a tad small for an oligarch… I take it the yacht foundered and now sits at the bottom of the deep blue ???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Karl Hughes February 17, 2016 2:27 pm Reply
  • Not at all sure if the Islay lifeboat got a line onto the yacht, although I guess they, (interpol), very much want to have a look at whatever is on it? Getting a line attached would have been a very difficult task for the lifeboat crews I’m sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Ian Gillies February 17, 2016 5:32 pm Reply

    This is the reason they were after this fellow…seems he ” borrowed” the yacht…anyhow, answers the majority of who, what, and why…. you couldn’t actually make it up…. lol

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    Karl Hughes February 17, 2016 5:52 pm Reply
  • Thanks Karl, so that’s it, went for a wee sail a strayed slightly to Tiree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Ian Gillies February 17, 2016 6:22 pm Reply
  • The laziness of the “Journalists” at the Record, P&J, etc. is evident as always. They keep repeating that Deep Energy is a cable layer, when typing the name into Google or an AIS program will tell them that it is a pipe layer of the type that hooks up subsea wells to FPSO’s. I can understand the Record getting it wrong, but it is indeed quite shocking that the P&J is losing it’s status as an oilfield journal of merit.
    There has to be more to this story than that a Norwegian company allowed someone to sail off in one of their yachts in the middle of Winter. The lazy journalists have learned he’s a Russian so they build their story round that without getting too much background. “Guilty until proven innocent” is their new mantra.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    Murdoch MacKenzie February 18, 2016 7:00 am Reply
  • Pedantics aside… the vessel is capable of Rigid pipe,
    Flexible pipe,Umbilical and cable laying… the Russina was arrested, must be a reason for for that ? given the expense and lives risked he should have been arrested for incompetence … anyhow MM, all the info is out there if you look.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    Karl Hughes February 18, 2016 8:58 am Reply
    • Was Tony Bullimore incompetent? I wouldn’t say so, and neither would I call any man incompetent who had sailed here single handed from Norway in the middle of winter.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Murdoch MacKenzie February 19, 2016 5:43 pm Reply

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