Skip to main content

Mowi workboat skipper rescues yacht on only his second shift

The Joenathe moored alongside the Beinn Mowi last Friday. All photos: Mowi.
The Joenathe moored alongside the Beinn Mowi last Friday. All photos: Mowi.

A Mowi workboat skipper on only his second shift came to the rescue of a German sailing duo last Friday. Lewis Gibson, skipper of the Beinn Mowi, and his deckhand Lewis Sneddon, noticed the 36-foot German-flagged sailing yacht Joenathe was drifting towards Kingairloch salmon farm in Loch Linnhe where the workboat was moored.

The sailing yacht’s engine had failed and Joenathe was dragging both her anchors including 200 metres of rope and 50 metres of chain in high winds and swell.

The crew of the Joenathe, a well-equipped bluewater cruiser that has cruised to the Galapagos and Falklands and rounded the Cape of Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, made contact via VHF channel 16 emergency channel and stated that they had lost power and required urgent assistance.

Joaenathe under tow to Dunstaffnage, Oban, with Kingairloch salmon farm in the background.
Joaenathe under tow to Dunstaffnage, Oban, with Kingairloch salmon farm in the background.

Towed for repairs

The 69-foot Beinn Mowi secured Joenathe alongside and returned to the fish farm.

After several hours trying to get the sailing vessel’s engine to restart the crew of Joenathe spent Friday night alongside the Beinn Mowi, and Saturday night moored on one of Kingairloch fish farm’s pens.

By Sunday the weather had improved sufficiently to enable the Beinn Mowi to tow Joenathe approximately 12 nautical miles to Dunstaffnage marina for engine repairs.

Great seamanship

Jörg, the master of Joenathe, and his crew Hajo, were delighted with the assistance and hospitality they received from the salmon farmers.

“We are extremely grateful to the crew of the Beinn Mowi. It’s very seldom you get to meet such good seamen, they really knew what needed to be done under strong wind conditions and we are so grateful that they supported us in this way,” said Jörg, from Münster in western Germany.

“It was an outstanding offer from the two Lewises to tow us to Dunstaffnage and it was another great piece of seamanship to get us alongside on the pontoon so smoothly. It was really fantastic.”

Lewis Gibson:
Lewis Gibson: "We’re just happy we were able to help."

Right place, right time

The rescue came as Fort William-based Gibson worked his second shift as the skipper of Beinn Mowi, a landing utility vessel built by Dutch company Nauplius Workboats on 2020. He had previously been manager of Kingairloch salmon farm.

He said: “It was a case of right place, right time. We were aware of the yacht drifting towards us and the skipper must’ve seen that we were on deck and hailed us on the radio, by which time he was less than 100 metres from us.

“It was around 5.30pm when he made contact and the site staff who work at Kingairloch would’ve been away by that time. He would probably have collided with our farm or the rocky shoreline which we’re glad we were able to prevent.

The Beinn Mowi was delivered in 2020.
The Beinn Mowi was delivered in 2020.

Nerve-wracking

“It was a bit nerve-wracking. This was only my second shift as skipper, I’ve never done anything like this and the Beinn Mowi is twice the size of the sailing yacht, but we managed to come alongside in a safe and controlled manner and take control of the situation. We helped to gather the anchors which were fully paid out and bring both boats into the shelter of Loch a’ Choire.

“Jörg was such a lovely guy and a highly experienced sailor. We’re just happy we were able to help.”

Jörg and Hajo have continued their journey and are in currently in Tobermory.

Helping out the lifeboat

The yacht rescue came on the same day that a team looking after two Scottish Sea Farms salmon farm sites in Loch Eriboll, Sutherland, went to the aid of a yacht that was being pushed towards the shore by 60 mph winds.

The SSF team used a landing utility vessel, Catriona, to hold the yacht in place and a rigid inflatable boat to ferry crew from the RNLI’s Scrabster lifeboat to the yacht, as the conditions were too rough to launch the lifeboat’s own, smaller inflatable.