Dutch yacht falls victim to Raz’s currents

A DUTCH yachtsman found himself stranded on a rock in Alderney’s infamous Raz Blanchard on Saturday lunchtime.

Greg Richardson took the picture of the yacht on the rocks. It was floated off on the next high tide.
Greg Richardson took the picture of the yacht on the rocks. It was floated off on the next high tide.

While reportedly journeying from Brest to Cherbourg, the ship met the Raz’s currents, which can reach 12 knots.

Alderney’s Border Agency and Harbour Office made contact on Saturday.

Checks were undertaken by authorities throughout the weekend with all Covid-19 regulations followed, and he was found unharmed.

An emergency travel exemption was arranged so that the Access Challenger could return the sailor to France.

‘My wife and I saw the yacht hit the rocks and got on the phone straight away to the emergency services,’ said Deputy Jeremy Smithies, who was visiting the island. ‘At the time we were out for a walk by The Odeon, a big German watchtower with a high vantage point.

‘We had been watching the yacht make its way south down the Raz on high spring tides for about an hour-and-a-half before it hit. As we were walking from the Corblets to Longis common my wife said he was going to hit the rocks.’

And it did. ‘It was in line with Fort Houmet Herbe, near to Fort Raz, going backwards before it hit. The current was likely about six knots at that point.

‘The sails were up even as it hit the rock.

‘At least the captain was wearing a life-jacket,’ said Deputy Smithies, ‘another man was on his motorboat, who met the captain roughly 10 minutes after he hit and stayed until the lifeboat came.’

A States of Alderney spokesman said: ‘The island’s multi-agency operational group were in action following a grounding of a Dutch yacht off Raz at Longis Bay.’

Authorities planned a joint rescue mission while the yachtsman remained on board.

‘Later that evening, the next high tide, the vessel was successfully floated and brought to the self-isolation moorings in the harbour for safety and further checks.’

Until further arrangements are made the vessel will be stored by the harbour office.

Further welfare checks were carried out on Sunday through the harbour office and the Island Medical Centre’s Dr Julie Hunt.

‘A huge thank you to all those involved. The multi-agency operational group has worked tirelessly since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so to protect our island and it’s residents,’ said the spokesman.

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