THE OWNER of the self-styled Crown dependency of Forvik was rescued on Sunday night after his boat got into difficulty in rough weather off the island.
Stuart Hill, who has been saddled with the nickname “Captain Calamity” since his turbulent arrival in Shetland seven years ago, called for help when his twin engine craft drifted 300 yards without power.
Mr Hill said he had only been in the boat to move it to a safer position after the weather deteriorated.
He said the engines had become flooded by the waves of water which came over the top of the boat, leaving him with no power.
“I was just getting clear of the harbour when the engines stalled, and I started drifting into the north passage between Forvik and Papa Stour.”
Realising his two outboard motors had failed, Mr Hill put his anchor down in a bid to stop the craft from drifting out into the Atlantic, before being found close into the shore by the crew of Coastguard rescue helicopter Oscar Charlie. He was retrieved by Aith lifeboat, before being taken back to Aith.
He said the incident had not put him off going back to the island. “What I’m doing in Forvik – I believe it is important and I hope people will realise I am prepared to take the risks I’m taking in order to do something that I think will be good for Shetland.”
He added that a built-in flotation device should prevent the boat from sinking altogether, and said he hoped to mount a rescue operation soon to save his beleaguered craft from a watery end.
A spokesman for the Maritime Coastguard Agency said at the time of the rescue the boat was found to be “swamped, but still afloat”.
The maverick land-owner took up residence in the uninhabited 2.5 acre Forwick Holm off Papa Stour earlier this year after acquiring it from Papa resident Mark King.
Mr Hill, who claims to have evidence the Crown never acquired ownership of Shetland from Norway, renamed it Forvik Island before declaring it a Crown dependency and inviting people to apply for full citizenship of the new micro-nation.
Since then he has been busily sailing back and fore in his self-built vessel, which some have criticised for being unsuitable for the often choppy waters in the Sound of Papa.
Mr Hill first came to prominence in 2001 when he was the cause of eight emergency callouts while making his way up to Shetland from his native Essex in a 14ft boat.
He said his reputation as a calamitous mariner was one thing he would “like to put to bed”, but added: “it seems to follow me around”.