22ft yacht in Force 7 weather-going stream

A yachtsman and his cat Sukie were heading round the Mull of Kintyre in a 22ft sloop facing against a northwesterly Force 7, wind over tide. The man requested aid from Belfast Coastguard after his engine failed and Campbeltown RNLI lifeboat crew launched.

On arrival the decision was taken to transfer the fatigued sailor to the lifeboat first. After waiting for a break in the waves the Coxswain manoeuvred alongside the yacht so the lifeboat crew could grab the man and his cat and transfer them to the lifeboat.

Due to the poor conditions a tow was established using a grappling hook, a more secure tow was set up when the lifeboat and yacht made it to calmer water.

David Cox, Coxswain of Campbeltown RNLI lifeboat says:

‘It was a poor day yesterday and the yacht was in the thick of a ebb tide against a strong northwesterly wind off the headland of Mull, not the most pleasant place to be especially if your engine goes. It took a number of attempts to go alongside the yacht but I took advantage of a break in the waves and we were able to grab the man and Sukie aboard the lifeboat. We have rescued a deer before but this is first time we’ve rescued a cat. They were shaken up but thankfully both are now safe and well.

‘Due to conditions we were not sure if it would be possible to tow the yacht back to Campbeltown but the grappling hook held until we made it to calmer waters where we established a stronger tow and took the yacht back to Campbeltown arriving shortly after eight pm.’