Princess Anne, who is president of the RYA, has revealed to a fellow sailor how a car fan belt saved the day when her Rustler 44 yacht broke down in Scotland

Experienced sailors Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence were left stranded on a remote Scottish island after the engine of their Rustler 44 broke down.

The pair were forced to tack to shelter on the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides after the yacht, called Ballochbuie, developed fan belt problems.

No one on the island, which is home to around 100 people, had the necessary part, and it was eventually found 80 miles away at a garage in Tobermory on Mull.

The Vauxhall Astra fan belt was taken to the island via road and sea, allowing the royal couple to continue on their journey.

Princess Anne Rustler 44 yacht, Ballochbuie

The royal couple’s Rustler 44, Ballochbuie. Credit: Paul Wyeth

Princess Anne, who is the president of the RYA, revealed her story to fellow sailor, Ceila Bull, who lives on the Isle of Eigg.

She met Bull while visiting the Sail Scotland stand at the London Boat Show last month.

Princess Anne sailing

HRH Princess Anne sailing at Cowes

Speaking to the Daily Express, Bull said: “She said it was a really good memory – she loves sailing around the Inner Hebrides.”

“The Princess was quite amused the fan belt came off an Astra and was impressed by the resourcefulness of people here finding a way of getting something to work,” she continued.

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“When she came over to the Sail Scotland stand she was not expecting a yachtswoman from Eigg – her face lit up and told the story,” recalled Bull.

“You cannot cool the engine without the pumps working. It doesn’t matter if it is a £500 boat or a £500,000 boat – you need a fan belt.”

Princess Anne sailing

Princess Anne at the helm on 25 July 1975. Credit: Getty Images

“Tacking in as they did showed that they are good skilful sailors,” added Bull.

Ballochbuie is moored at Ardfern, a tiny, remote hamlet on Loch Craignish on the west coast of Scotland,

It was launched in 2012 and is regularly used by the royal couple for their Scottish sailing trips.

The yacht is named after a piece of ancient Caledonian forest on the west end of the Balmoral estate, which Princess Anne and Sir Tim have “always loved”.

Princess Anne and her husband at the London Boat Show

HRH Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence at the London Boat Show. Credit: onEdition

Sir Tim and Princess Anne previously owned a Rustler 36, Blue Doublet, which they kept in Ardfern for decades, sailing it every summer.