Yacht and tender found, but no sign of skipper

The search for a solo sailor, reported missing by his wife, is continuing in Scotland.

Neil Mackenzie, 59, was sailing his 30ft sloop, Soltaire, from Arisaig in the Highlands to his home town of Aberdeen, via John O’Groats, when his wife Sarah raised the alarm at 1700 on Wednesday.

But the Maritime and Coastguard Agency(MCA) have so far been unable to locate Mr Mackenzie, although they found the yacht at
anchor south of Arisaig and its tender washed ashore in a nearby bay with its outboard attached.

Mr Mackenzie is an experienced sailor, having bought the yacht in Vancouver, Canada more than thirty years ago and singlehandedly sailed it from Canada to New Zealand.

Last night a coastguard spokesperson said: ‘He could be on land or sea, we don’t know. It is a big needle in a haystack job.

‘There is no reason to believe he was not doing what he told his family he was doing in the area.

‘We are winding down the search as daylight is due to fail at 1900 and tomorrow morning we will make a decision with the police over what to do next.

‘Because the vessel was doing short day trips there is no clear route for us to search along, so we’re asking people to let
us know if they have seen a small, green-hulled yacht or its owner in recent days.’

His wife said that he is normally in contact every few days when at sea, but she has not heard from him since September 14.

There have been heavy seas and winds gusting between Force 5 and Force 8 in the area in recent days.

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