Wester Ross sailor, 72, survives wave ordeal

Gerry Beard had been making his way home from Iceland

A 72-year-old lone sailor was swept off his yacht by a wave in a force eight gale before another wave pushed the craft back under him saving his life.

Gerry Beard was close to completing an 11-day trip from Reykjavik in Iceland to his home in Shieldaig, in Wester Ross.

He was swept overboard north of the Butt of Lewis on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Beard fell back onto his yacht, Meris, and into the cockpit where he activated a distress beacon.

Stornoway's coastguard station and RNLI lifeboat crew responded.

The lifeboat towed the Meris to Stornoway in Lewis where Mr Beard spent the night at the town's Fishermen's Mission.

'Dropped back'

Mr Beard was making his way from below deck to the cockpit but was swept overboard.

He told Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that he was lucky to be alive.

Mr Beard, an experienced sailor, said: "This wave picked me up and took the doors off the cabin.

"I thought 'I'm on my own here'. Then all the water went away and the boat came back towards me and I dropped back into the boat."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Highlands & Islands



6 °C 5 °C


  • Witley Court in Worcestershire Abandoned mansions

    What happened to England's lost stately homes?

  • Tray of beer being carried10 Things

    Beer is less likely to slosh than coffee, and other nuggets

  • Spoon and buckwheatSoul food

    The grain that tells you a lot about Russia's state of mind

  • Woman readingWeekendish

    The best reads you need to catch up on

  • Salim Rashid SuriThe Singing Sailor

    The young Omani who became a pre-war fusion music hit

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.