Skip to content

Shetland Islands, Day Seven, 17th June, Wind and Rescue Practice by Catriona

  • by

A picture containing person, person, indoorDescription automatically generatedShetland Islands, Day Seven, 17th June, Wind and Rescue Practice by Catriona

With another really rubbish day forecast, conditions of F4 gusting F6 and possibly higher later in the day, we decided to make the most of the onshore wind onto the safe beach in Voxter Voe next to our accommodation and practice turning and rescuing in the wind. Well, this had seemed a great idea the night before during our whisky tasting. Six of us, Andy, Roger, Phil, Ian, Becka and I decided to join the practice session.

We managed to turn and tow into the wind quite well and then started to capsize and rescue practice as the wind started to increase towards a constant F5/F6. It became clear quickly that our group communication needed to improve, that we needed to get better and quicker at towing people out of danger and not let go of paddles or boats as reconnecting these with the swimmer was extremely difficult in these conditions.

We also learnt that we needed to manage the tow lines better. I had set off for one practice with my tow line on my deck as everyone else had wanted to move away from the beach we were washed up on. Unfortunately, it was my turn to swim, with my rope in the way and two more attempting to anchor the rescue boat we got very tangled up. We also learnt you need to be careful removing tow lines as we had an unplanned swim while a line got tangled around a boat as the rope was being stowed.

Ian having watched us make our various attempts at rescues still agreed to swim, luckily for him we were a bit better organised by now, and we got two tow lines on quickly, while Phil completed the rescue.

Phil emptying Ian’s boat, while Becka and I attach toe lines, and Roger somehow takes photos.

This exercise really made me think about the minimum numbers needed and the skills and experience required in a group before paddling round cliffs.

Towing until Ian is back in his boat and spray deck back on etc.

By now the wind was probably F6, and as far as I was concerned paddling into the wind and manoeuvring even in the safe location had become exceedingly difficult and just keeping upright felt like an achievement and more importantly it was definitely time for a late lunch.

Video link of wind………..

A picture containing graphical user interfaceDescription automatically generated

Click for more photographs……