Construct and Destruct

Saturday the 24th of February was the first day of the alternate Winter Timetable.
This is the consequence of the MV Clansman being away for its annual overhaul.
The replacement vessels cannot match the MV Clansman’s timing.
This year the replacement is the MV Hebridean Isles.
At least it is meant to be.

Work progressing in the Noust on the construction of the St Ayles Skiff

I set out in time to observe the progress on the construct of the St Ayles Skiff.
The build is taking place in the boathouse known as the Noust.
The work at present is of a preparatory nature.
Timber was expected off today’s ferry.

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Over night the wind was gusting to well over 45mph.
At midnight the gusts reached a speed of 51mph.
At 11:00am it was still gusting to 40mph.

The MV Hebridean Isles viewed through the linkspan and dolphins

Due to the forecast of high winds and swell conditions,
the MV Hebridean Isles was on an amended timetable
and was only going to make one stop at Coll.

From the Noust the ferry could be observed entering Gott Bay.
The wind was from the SE and a heavy swell was running.
It looked as if it might be tough and rough on board.
The vessel was rising and falling.

The exposed wings of the bridge on the MV Hebridean Isles

The vessel has to turn in order to berth stern first.
She lay for a moment or two alongside but well off from the pier.
The decision was made to bring her bow across the roundhead.
With her thrusters pushing the stern was then brought in against the wind.

The stern ropes were thrown and caught.
It appeared that the vessel would berth successfully.
Then all of a sudden the stern was pushed by wind and wave.
This action put the stern ropes under immense strain but they did not break.

The stern ropes are thrown and caught

There was a bang! – Something did break.!
Where the stern ropes pass through was torn away.
There appeared to be substantial damage to the stern of the boat.
Although the damage was well above the waterline the vessel could not berth.

The vessel swung out from the pier and there was a bang

The bow ropes were released and the MV Hebridean Isles proceeded to sea.
At first it was uncertain whether the vessel would return to the pier.
Perhaps it might then attempt to come in bow first.
Had this ever been attempted before at Tiree?

Given the far from ideal conditions this was highly unlikely.
It was a high tide and the wind was still strong.
Thus the ferry returned to Oban.

The bow ropes are released

At 12:37pm CalMac issued a statement.
‘The MV Hebridean Isles was unable to berth successfully at Tiree.
The vessel has therefore been diverted back to Oban.
A further update will be provided shortly.’

A wounded MV Hebrides heads back out to sea bound for Oban

At 1:00pm CalMac issued an update:
‘The MV Hebridean Isles was unable to berth successfully at Tiree.
The vessel has therefore been diverted back to Oban.
Due to these technical issues
the remainder of today’s sailings will be cancelled.’

A further 4 hours twenty minutes ahead of them

As for Sunday the 25th of February thee is a yellow alert.
Berthing at Tiree is on the starboard side for the vessel.
Will there have to be a replacement vessel?
Watch this space!

This is Life on Tiree on a morning of construction and destruction.
On a day when passengers aboard the ferry endured almost 9 hours.
And they got absolutely nowhere.

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