Another former Challenge racer traced - this one just triggered a major rescue operation


Well, here’s a thing.

Last week, Matt Jess emailed to say the only former Challenge yacht he’d been unable to track down was the ex-Heath Insured.

Whereabouts now traced.(Since this was originally posted, I’ve been told it went to a buyer in Holland and the boat in this story is the a different one from the fleet – but read on…)

It was involved in a helicopter and lifeboat rescue on Saturday in storm force winds off the Isle of Lewis. Dick Johnson emailed to say that while sailing on the west coast he’d heard about the rescue.

The yacht, now named Elinca and operated by Beyond the Blue Horizon charters, was attempting to anchor on a lee shore in Loch Tamnabhaigh on the west side of Lewis and in the process had fouled her propeller and damaged the gearbox.

Although the crew managed to get the anchor to hold they weren’t able to sail out of the loch, and with a Force 9 forecast they called the coastguard. A Coastguard helicopter was sent and lifted five guests to safety, leaving eight crew aboard the yacht.

A lifeboat was launched and came round from Stornoway taking five hours to arrive; the RNLI crew reported winds ‘over 50 knots and a considerable swell of 10-15m’.

As the yacht was being towed out of the loch shortly before dark at 1800 the line parted, but there was then sufficient sea room for Elinca to make sail. The crew made for Stornoway and on Sunday morning the lifeboat launched again to tow her alongside.