Kessock Lifeboat was tasked this afternoon to attend to several capsized sailing dinghies along the Moray coastline following what was described as an “unbelievable” squall hit two different groups of sailors.
Earlier on Saturday morning RNLI Lifeboats from both Kessock and Invergordon had visited the Chanonry Sailing Club open day in Fortrose. Both Lifeboats had left Fortrose and were making their way to Nairn to attend a similar open day for their sailing club.
Conditions were good, with little wind and calm seas.
On passage from Fortrose to Nairn, both lifeboats passed through a vicious weather squall. Conditions rapidly deteriorated to thunder, lightening, hail and very strong winds. Invergordon lifeboat recorded windspeeds gusting at 56knots. The squall lasted for about 10 minutes. Following the squall weather conditions returned to the calm of earlier on.
Just after Kessock Lifeboat volunteers had secured their lifeboat inside Nairn Harbour a member of the public rushed over alerting them to a capsized sailing dinghy back out at sea with 2 persons on board.
Kessock Lifeboat quickly made their way to the upturned dinghy along with the sailing club rescue boat, who recovered the casualties from the water. The lifeboat crew righted the damaged dinghy and recovered it to the harbour. The sailors were given assistance on the shore by Nairn Coastguard team.
As soon as this incident was dealt with both Kessock and Invergordon Lifeboats along with the independent lifeboat, Moray Inshore Rescue Organisation (MIRO) who were also at Nairn were tasked by Aberdeen Coastguard to assist 7 capsized dinghies at Findhorn, with multiple people in the water.
All 3 lifeboats made best speed in good conditions to Findhorn, a journey of about 10 miles by sea. When Kessock lifeboat was a little under 4 miles from Findhorn it was stood down from the tasking, while Invergordon Lifeboat and MIRO continued to Findhorn.
Kessock Lifeboat crew then made their way back to their Lifeboat station to maintain Search and Rescue cover for the Beauly and Inner Moray Firth areas while the incident in Findhorn was being dealt with.
Speaking of the squall, RNLI Kessock volunteer Helmsman Kenny Foggo said ‘It was unbelievable conditions that literally came out of nowhere. It went from flat calm to storm force winds, thunder, lightening and hail so fierce we couldn’t see in almost an instant. After about 10 mins it was over and everything was completely calm again’
Notes to Editors
Attached pictures show RNLI Kessock returning to Nairn Harbour with the damaged sailing dinghy alongside the lifeboat.
Credit: RNLI/Michael MacDonald
Dan Holland, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, RNLI Kessock, 07900 567 496 firstname.lastname@example.org
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