A French yacht grounded on rocks immediately north of the Brehon Tower between Guernsey and Herm.
Brehon tower stands in the notoriously tidal stretch of water known as the Little Russel.
Sometime soon after midnight on Wednesday, 13 July, the single handed Marutea was sailing south against the flood tide on passage towards St Peter Port.
At about 0630, Guernsey Coastguard received a report from the local fishing boat Asile Sur that a yacht with sails still hoisted, was high and dry, close up to Brehon Tower.
The tower is a significant feature (19m above MHWS) on the east side of the Little Russel Channel between St Sampson’s Harbour and St Peter Port and is lit.
There appeared to be no one aboard and the St Peter Port lifeboat was called, approaching at 0653. The lifeboat tender was launched and reached the 30ft Le Havre registered Marutea to find the skipper still aboard but unharmed.
The skipper opted to stay with his yacht and since there was no danger to life, the lifeboat returned to station. The States of Guernsey workboat Sarnia was put on standby however, and at about one hour before HW, arrived at the scene.
The dory was launched as the Sarnia waited in deep water and a line was secured to the stern of the yacht. With some difficulty, the dory hauled the yacht over the extensive reef as the tide rose and the tow was transferred to the Sarnia.
Inspection at the time revealed only superficial damage and no water ingress. There was however damage to the boat’s propeller and with harbour staff aboard, the Marutea was towed into St Peter Port and placed against the quay in the Victoria Marina where a full inspection was carried out. The vessel remains in St Peter Port at this time.
The tide in the Little Russel is considerable even on a Neap tide as this was. It has been assumed that the skipper had difficulty in crossing the tide and finding the correct St Peter Port approach marks. The boat will remain in St Peter Port until repairs are completed.
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