Islay lifeboat to the rescue

The Islay lifeboat was launched on August 25 to go to the rescue of the 17 metre fishing vessel ‘Keristrum’ which had suffered machinery failure 30 miles to the north-west of the north end of the Sound of Islay. The 100 ton stricken vessel, with six crew members on board, was wallowing heavily in a 15 foot swell with winds gusting up to force seven. The lifeboat, under the command of deputy coxswain Raymond Fletcher along with 7 other volunteers, managed to secure a towline on to the stricken vessel and proceeded tow her back to Port Askaig. The ‘Keristrum’s’ sister vessel ‘Venus’ arrived on the scene and requested a transfer of the towline as the ship’s owners wanted their boat to be taken back to her home port of Mallaig.

On the following morning, the lifeboat, again with deputy cox Raymond Fletcher in control, headed for Jura where a yacht had fouled its propeller and was dragging its anchor one mile south-west of Craighouse Bay. The yacht was towed back to Craighouse where a diver was later engaged to assess the damage to the propeller. Continue reading...

On September 4, the lifeboat went to the assistance of the 26ft yacht ‘Little Orca’ aground on a reef at the entrance to Ardminish Bay on Gigha. The yacht was successfully towed off the reef but was still taking in water. The lone yachtsman was adamant that the leak was not serious and wanted his vessel beached on the bay to effect repairs. After several attempts to beach the leaking vessel the owner had a change of heart, a salvage pump was put into operation and the vessel was escorted the 15 miles to the sheltered pier at West Loch Tarbert.

Salvage pump retrieved, the ‘Helmut B Schroder of Dunlossit 11’ was heading for base when it required to go to the assistance of the cabin cruiser ‘Spirit of Iris’ which had broken down south of Cara Island at the southern end of Gigha. Despite being given the wrong position, the lifeboat located the cruiser and its four-man crew, a towline was engaged which resulted in the vessel being taken to safe mooring in Craighouse Bay. These rescue operations involved many hours at sea before the lifeboat and her crew of willing volunteers returned to her Port Askaig station and further refuelling.

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This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach local newspaper.