Challenging conditions as lifeboat rescues yacht

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By Colin Smeeton

A stricken yacht had to be towed to safety by the Arran RNLI last weekend after the vessel was seen to be drifting in severe weather near Lochranza.

Shortly after 1.30pm on Saturday the lifeboat team were tasked to the broken-down yacht in the Kilbrannan Sound, roughly halfway between Lochranza and Claonaig.

The volunteer crew assembled and in challenging conditions they made their way to the casualty vessel.

Trainee lifeboat crew member Richard Godfrey said: ‘On route to the casualty vessel, and away from the shelter of the Arran coast, the wind had picked up to a moderate gale which made securing the casualty vessel a challenge for us all.

‘However, great teamwork and leadership from our helms meant we quickly got one of our team on board and we took the casualty vessel under tow into the shelter of Lochranza.

‘With the conditions the way they were, it was far from a pleasant journey, but the two yachtsmen and their boat were returned to safety from where they could make repairs before resuming their voyage.

‘As conditions worsened we made our way back to Lamlash and reflected upon the acrobatic skills of our helm who had boarded the casualty vessel with real style despite the conditions.’

On return to the station at 4.20pm, the shore crew recovered the lifeboat and made her ready for service again whilst the crew dried out and warmed up after a busy afternoon.

In a strange but useful coincidence Amanda Pirie, Arran RNLI press officer, was on hand to photograph the event.

Amanda said: ‘It just so happened that I was walking my dog down in Lochranza when the pager sounded, and I could see the casualty vessel out in the bay and it appeared to be drifting.

‘Sure enough, the coastguard arrived and before long, an orange boat appeared around the headland.’

If you ever see someone in trouble on or around the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

The RNLI delivers the stricken yacht to a mooring where repairs can be carried out.