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#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI assisted two sailors yesterday evening (Monday 14 August) after their yacht lost power off Mizen Head in West Cork.

The alarm was raised earlier in the afternoon following a report from the crew of a 26ft yacht that they had lost all battery power.

At the time, the occupants were comfortable sailing the yacht towards Baltimore, so the lifeboat was put on standby until they were closer.

However, due to a confused sea in a strong tideway, the yacht was making very little progress towards land and required assistance to get to port.

The inshore lifeboat, helmed by Micheal Cottrell and with crew members Ryan O’Mahony and Colin Rochford on board, left station at 7.20pm and met the yacht three miles west of Cape Clear Island just before 8pm.

Weather conditions at the time were relatively good, with a Force 3 south-westerly wind and a one-metre sea swell.

One of the lifeboat crew went aboard the yacht to assist with rigging a tow and, once that was established at 8.05pm, a course was set for North Harbour in Cape Clear where the vessel was moored safely at 8.55pm.

Speaking following the callout, Cottrell said: “The sailors did the right thing in initially alerting people ashore to their predicament and then seeking the assistance of the lifeboat before darkness when their situation wasn’t improving.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Thirteen people were brought safely ashore by Baltimore RNLI after their Fastnet Race yacht got into difficulty in the early hours of yesterday morning (Wednesday 9 August).

The volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.05am that a yacht participating in the famous offshore race had lost its rigging some 26 miles south east of Baltimore in West Cork.

With seven crew on board — coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Pat Collins and crew members Jerry Smith, Brian McSweeney, Don O’Donovan, Sean McCarthy and Eoin Ryan — the lifeboat proceeded to the scene, arriving at 3.31am.

They found that the rod rigging on the 45ft yacht was still standing, however part of the outer rigging had failed and the mast was in danger of coming down. 

The crew of the yacht also informed the lifeboat team that their fuel had been contaminated, and they were running on a small container of spare fuel, which they estimated would only give them an hour’s motoring time.

Conditions at the time were choppy, with a north-westerly Force 4 wind and 1-1.5m swell. The yacht crew agreed that a tow would be best so while the lifeboat stood by, they secured the rig as best they could.

As soon as the lifeboat sent over the tow line, the engine of the yacht cut out. However, the tow was established and the lifeboat started to bring the yacht back to Baltimore.

During the tow, due to the unstable nature of the mast, the lifeboat crew advised everyone to stay below deck in case the mast came down. 

The lifeboat towed the casualty vessel to the fishing pier in Baltimore Harbour, arriving at 10am, where they were assisted by boathouse crew Aidan Bushe, Colin Rochford and Ryan O’Mahony.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat coxswain Kieran Cotter said: “Thankfully the rigging held and the experienced crew aboard the yacht managed to do the best that they could do to avoid injury and to secure and preserve the yacht’s rig under difficult circumstances.”

In other news, Courtmacsherry RNLI has more details of its launch to a Fastnet Race yacht with a broken mast some 13 miles off Galley Head, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Ten people were rescued from the 40ft vessel after it was disabled by a broken mast amid Force 3-4 north-westerly breezes.

The racing yacht was participating in the world’s largest offshore race and was one of a whole fleet of yachts that approached the turn at Fastnet Rock during the night.

Hours before, Baltimore’s lifeboat was called to rescue two people from a RIB who had been watching the yachts rounding the rock when their boat lost power.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Two people watching the Fastnet Race fleet round the famous rock from a RIB yesterday (Tuesday 8 August) were rescued by Baltimore RNLI when their boat lost power. 

The volunteer lifeboat crew, who were already on exercise in the area of Fastnet Rock, were alerted by a call from a nearby vessel at 3.15pm that another boat with two people onboard had lost the use of their engine.

The all-lifeboat was only two miles from the casualty vessel, a 7.5m RIB. Conditions at the time were good with a north-westerly Force 2-3 wind and a one-metre sea swell.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew established a tow and brought the vessel back to Baltimore Harbour in West Cork, securing her to the pontoon before returning to the lifeboat station at 4.20pm.

Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer, commented: “Thankfully the lifeboat crew were on scene very quickly after the call was raised. 

“Baltimore RNLI has a strong connection to the Fastnet Race having been involved in a number of dramatic rescues over the years. The lifeboat crew regularly exercise during the famous race to be nearby in case they receive a call for help.”

Elsewhere, Wicklow’s all-weather lifeboat launched at on Monday night (7 August) to assist two sailors on a yacht in difficulties about two miles north-east of Wicklow Harbour.

The eight-metre yacht was on passage south when it developed engine problems. The skipper contacted the Irish Coast Guard for assistance as they were unable to make any progress due to the lack of wind.

Under the command of second coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the lifeboat was alongside the casualty six minutes after launching. Conditions in the area had a calm sea state with light airs and good visibility.

A towline was quickly established and the yacht was brought back to Wicklow Harbour, where it was safely secured alongside the East Pier before midnight.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - In the first of two incidents yesterday morning (Thursday 3 August), Baltimore RNLI launched to reports of a vessel adrift in Crookhaven Harbour.

The vessel, a 4m Boston Whaler powerboat, had broken from its mooring in strong winds and was drifting outside the West Cork harbour. 

There was no one on board the vessel, and weather conditions at the time were poor, with an easterly force 6-7 wind and 4-5m sea swell.

Baltimore's lifeboat arrived on scene at 8.38am, some 51 minutes after launch, and established a tow to bring the vessel back into the harbour, where it was secured to a mooring.

As the lifeboat was departing to return to station at 9.11am, the Irish Coast Guard contacted them to investigate another boat in trouble in the area. 

The second vessel, a 20ft Merry Fisher pleasure boat with no people on board, had gone ashore on rocks in Crookhaven

Due to the position of the vessel on the shoreline, coxswain Aidan Bushe decided to launch the Y-boat from the stern ramp of the lifeboat. 

The Y-boat, with Kieran Collins and David Ryan on board, secured a tow and pulled the casualty vessel clear of the shoreline. The lifeboat then took up the tow and secured the vessel on a mooring.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “It is advisable in such incidents, where boats get into trouble near the shoreline, to call the coastguard for assistance. This reduces the risk of people getting themselves into a dangerous situation. 

“If you get into difficulty at sea, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Bushe, Ryan and Collins were joined on yesterday’s callout by mechanic Sean McCarthy and crew members Jerry Smith and Don O’Donovan. Micheal Cottrell provided shore crew assistance at the lifeboat house.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI completed a busy weekend when the inshore lifeboat was launched on Sunday afternoon (30 July) to a report of an upturned vessel off Heir Island.

The volunteer lifeboat launched at 2.42pm arrived on scene to find a rigged Laser sailing boat, with no occupants, on the shore. 

Baltimore’s RNLI crew conducted a sweep around the location of the vessel as other boats in the area, as well as the Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford, joined in the search.

Conditions at the time were calm, with Force 3 to 4 winds and good visibility.

Within an hour, reports came in to the coastguard that the boat had got caught up on a static mooring while sailing earlier that morning. Unable to free the vessel, the sailor made their own way ashore, leaving the sailing boat fully rigged and stuck on the mooring.

Some time later the boat came off the mooring by itself and came ashore on its side, prompting a member of the public to raise the alarm when they came across it.

“We are delighted that there was a good outcome with this situation,” said Gerald O’Brien, Baltimore RNLI volunteer deputy launching authority.

“Always remember, if you get into difficulty at sea or witness a vessel in trouble from the shoreline, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Baltimore RNLI previously launched twice on Friday (28 July) on two separate callouts, involving a Drascombe Lugger in distress and an emergency beacon activated on an offshore yacht, respectively.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Just hours after launching to an alarm from a yacht’s emergency beacon on Friday morning (28 July), Baltimore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was back in action responding to a Mayday from a Drascombe Lugger taking on water in Schull Harbour.

The lifeboat launched at 6.11pm and proceeded to the scene amid calm conditions at sea, with a westerly Force 4 wind and good visibility.

Before they arrived, however, Schull Coast Guard’s inshore rescue boat was first on scene six minutes later and took the sailing boat with two on board under tow back to Schull Harbour.

“The sailors did the right thing this evening and raised the alarm when they found themselves in difficulty,” said Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer. 

“We would like to commend our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard who arrived on scene and brought the vessel to safety.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI launched this morning (Friday 28 July) to locate a vessel sending an alarm from their positioning beacon off the coast of West Cork.

The Irish Coast Guard requested the launch just before 10am after it had picked up an alarm from an EPIRB (electronic position indication radio beacon) on a yacht half a mile south west of Cape Clear Island. 

Coastguard staff at Mizen Head had no success raising the occupants of the yacht on their VHF so the Baltimore all-weather lifeboat was launched to investigate at the last known co-ordinates of the vessel.

Meanwhile, 10.30am the coastguard finally made contact with the yacht’s two occupants on their VHF and established that the EPIRB had been activated by accident.

Speaking after the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat navigator Micheal Cottrell said: “It is important to ensure the secure fastening of an EPIRB on board a vessel and to regularly check that it is in good working order. Also, whilst out at sea it is important to keep radio watch on Channel 16. 

“If you get into difficulty at sea, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI assisted two sailors yesterday afternoon (Friday 14 July) after their motorboat broke down off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 2.25pm following a report from the sailors that their vessel had got into difficulty off Toe Head.

Helmed by Youen Jacob and with crew members Pat O’Mahony and Colin Rochford on board, the lifeboat launched immediately and was on scene in 25 minutes.

The 22ft motorboat had broken down half a mile west of Toe Head and had secured an anchor. Weather conditions at the time were relatively good, with a Force 3-4 south-westerly wind and a sea swell of 2-3m.

The lifeboat crew established a tow and brought the vessel safely back to Baltimore Harbour before returning to the station at 4.35pm.

“The sailors did the right thing today requesting assistance when required,” said Baltimore RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tom Bushe. “We would remind everyone enjoying our coast this summer to always respect the water.”

Shore crew in attendance at the station were Rianne and Jerry Smith, Kate Callanan, Marty O’Driscoll and Aidan Bushe.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew has responded to three callouts over the last four days.

The first of the three was a medical evacuation from Cape Clear on Friday (7 July).

A woman from the island was suffering from chest pains and needed to be transferred to the mainland, where she was met by a waiting ambulance at the lifeboat station.

The lifeboat was crewed by Kieran Cotter, Sean McCarthy, Cathal Cottrell, Aidan Bushe and Don O’Donovan.

The following night (Saturday 8 July), the lifeboat carried out another medevac, this time from Sherkin Island after man suffered a serious fall from a height and required medical assistance. 

The lifeboat crew were assisted on the island by a team led by Dr Jason from West Cork Rapid Response. 

The casualty was evacuated to Baltimore, where an ambulance was waiting at the lifeboat station for transfer to hospital in Cork. 

Crew on this callout were Kieran Cotter, Pat Collins, Jerry Smith, Don O’Donovan, Brian McSweeney, Jim Griffiths and Ronnie Carthy.

Finally, yesterday morning (Sunday 9 July) Baltimore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched to go to the assistance of a RIB which had broken down off Cape Clear.

Mícheál Cottrell, a helm and crewman with Baltimore RNLI, was out with his sea safari boat on a tour with passengers when he happened upon the boat, with two people onboard, which was suffering engine problems.

Cottrell raised the alarm and Baltimore’s inshore lifeboat was requested to assist. 

The lifeboat took the boat in tow to Baltimore, where it was berthed safely and the lifeboat returned to station. 

Crew on the inshore lifeboat were helm Youen Jacob, David Ryan and Ryan O’Mahony. 

Shore crew in assistance at Baltimore Lifeboat Station were Declan Tiernan, Sean McCarthy, Rianne Smith and Marty O’Driscoll.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

It’s not every day you’re helped aboard a new boat by an international star of stage and screen writes W M Nixon. But it happened at the weekend in Baltimore, where A-list actor Jeremy Irons is now a quietly familiar part of the West Cork summer scene, and particularly the traditional and classic boat side of it.

So much so, in fact, that it would be unusual for an event such as last weekend’s Baltimore Woodenboat & Seafood Festival if this most noted of their local skippers didn’t sally forth to participate from his restored Kilcoe Castle, which is just round the corner on the shores of Roaringwater Bay.

jeremy irons and punt10The pet boat. Jeremy Irons’ own sailing pride-and-joy in West Cork is the Willing Lass. As to her rig, the talk might go on all night as to whether she’s a ketch or a yawl.

For those unfamiliar with the area, we hasten to say that the bay is named for the Roaringwater River which flows into it – Kilcoe Castle stands above reasonably serene waters, in the heart of an island-studded area where bustling Baltimore is within easy reach.

It was certainly beginning to bustle when the Ilen Boat-Building School of Limerick’s caravanserai – for no other word more aptly fills the bill – finally arrived in Baltimore with their eclectic collection of boats in tow or on trucks. And it was good to see that, as the larger fleet took up their berths at the harbour, there beside the quay was the familiar friendly shape of Jeremy Irons’ own little classic yawl, Willing Lass.

While the Ilen people had brought their usual range of Shannon gandelows and other craft, their little fleet in Baltimore included three dinghies of the Valentine Punt type, which originates from a 10ft punt built in 1926 at Passage West on Cork Harbour as a tender for John Valentine Sisk. His grandson Hal Sisk remembered so vividly the little boat’s wellnigh-perfect rowing ability, and her stability with remarkable load-carrying power, that he has made kits available to re-create the Valentine Punt in a much lighter Epoxy-built edge-glued version, which retains the use of clinker marine ply planks, but doesn’t require frames.

val punt3In honour of trainee boatbuilder Elan Broadley’s home county, the final touch of perfection for the new punt has been a Donegal green sheerstrake. Photo: Gary MacMahon

The Ilen Boat-Building School is always on the lookout for interesting new projects, so he donated one of the kits to its Limerick premises, and the job of building the boat was under-taken as a solo project by Elan Broadley from Donegal, with the school’s teacher Matt Dirr revealing his talents as a light-handed instructor.

For the young Donegal man, it was a lengthy and sometimes difficult process. But when the resulting 10ft punt was brought to the slip in Baltimore as the weather improved to a briskly sunny day on Saturday, it all became thoroughly worthwhile. The little boat simply looked a treat, the final perfection being a sheerstrake of Donegal green in honour of the builder.

boat blessing4Brother Anthony of Glenstal Abbey blesses the new boat, assisted by Richard Bushe. Photo: Gary MacMahon

Elan’s mother Geraldine had come down from Donegal for this very special occasion, while Hal Sisk had come from Dun Laoghaire and leading traditional boat enthusiasts such as Paddy Barry had also travelled to be there with folk like Mary Jordan who keep the Baltimore Woodenboat show on the road, and it became one of those informal gatherings which somehow acquires its own momentum.

The boat was blessed by Brother Anthony Keane from Glenstal Abbey, who is a Director of the Ilen Boat-Building School, assisted by Richard Bushe on behalf of the Baltimore maritime community. A very special cake, dedicated to Hal and Matt, was ceremoniously sliced and consumed with enthusiasm, and then after the two other Valentine Punts had been sent off to row about in the inner harbour as a welcoming escort, the new boat took to the water for the first time.

special cake5A very special cake gave thanks from Elan Broadley to Hal Sisk, the donor of the boat-building kit, and Matt Dirr the Ilen School Instructor. Photo: Gary MacMahon

elan and mary jordan6“Well done!” Mary Jordan of the Baltimore Woodenboat & Seafood Festival gives her warmest approval to Elan Broadley for his efforts. Photo: Gary MacMahon
It was now that Hal Sisk reckoned he’d the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the Valentine Punt’s excellent load-carrying capacity, and somehow Jeremy Irons – who has long taken a close interest in the Ilen project – was roped in to help people aboard and send a worthwhile payload afloat. Like the good trouper he is, he threw himself into the role with relish, and the new dinghy – with Hal himself doing the rowing from the useful bow position – showed she could confidently carry six people, including the young boat-builder’s mother.

jeremy irons7Always a willing trouper – Jeremy Irons enthusiastically took on he role of quayside attendant and boat loader

jeremy irons7“Come on, there’s plenty of room for lots more......” Jeremy Irons piling them in, while the two sister-punts row out into the harbour. Photo: Gary MacMahon

It’s not every day that you can travel all the way from Donegal to West Cork to see the first boat built by your son being launched in front of such an extraordinary and approving group. And then to be helped on board that same boat by a real international superstar successfully pretending to be a quayside attendant....well, it made Geraldine’s day.

In fact, it made everyone’s day. In this one charming little launching ceremony, the message of hope which is embodied in the Ilen Boat-Building School became clear for all to see, share and understand.

jeremy irons7Sending them on their way – with Hal Sisk on the oars, the little punt takes the load. Photo: Gary McMahon

jeremy irons and punt10Job done. Elan’s mother Geraldine (red jacket) floats for the first time in the punt her son built. In the interests of safety, they stayed strictly in the shallowest water, but the little punt carried the load very well. Photo: Gary MacMahon

Published in Historic Boats
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