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Displaying items by tag: Loch Ness

The RNLI recorded one of their more unusual launches yesterday evening (Saturday 17 October) after a World War II-era seaplane made a distress call from Loch Ness.

It emerged that the aircraft, the PBY Catalina, had experienced engine issues while attempting to take off from the loch in the Scottish Highlands.

With the plane sitting exposed in the middle of the water, not far from Loch Ness RNLI’s lifeboat station, it was decided the safest way to assist would be to establish a tow with the inshore lifeboat RIB to the shelter of Urquhart Bay close by.

Typing up at a harbour or pontoon was ruled out, however, due to the flying boat’s massive 32-metre wingspan — so a mooring buoy was decided as the best option.

Lifeboat crew member David Ferguson later spoke of the challenges involved in towing a craft as big and unusual as this.

“Towing the Catalina would prove to be no easy feat,” he said. “Fixing points are few and far between on such an aircraft, and the best option was underneath the tail, which barely cleared the bow of the lifeboat.

“Nevertheless, with some care, we managed to establish a towline.”

Elsewhere in Scotland this weekend, Oban RNLI in Western Scotland launched on Friday evening (16 October) after a small boat was reported drifting through the Falls of Lora.

With a flooding tide and strong currents from the falls, it was believed the boat had been carried into Loch Etive, which is where Oban’s all-weather lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald headed to conduct the search.

The lifeboat searched the area the boat was seen drifting towards, but with nothing found they continued further into the loch where they spotted the boat adrift to the west of Ardchattan church.

The unoccupied boat was then taken under tow to a nearby nearby pier where it was recovered by Oban’s HM Coastguard team.

Published in Scottish Waters
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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