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#OptimistBaltimore Sailing Club have started preparations for the annual invasion of Irish Optimist sailors for the week from next Sunday 17 February.

The International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland’s (IODAI) team of coaches are making plans for training both on and off the water.

Participating sailors are reminded to check and label all their equipment before packing for the week, especially if it has been put away all winter.

“We are looking forward to a great week of fun, action and friendships both on and off the water,” the IODAI said.

Meanwhile, registrations are now open for the 2019 Optimist Trials which will take place as part of the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals at the Royal Cork from 25-28 April.

Entry is by invitation only based on 2018 season results. Entries made before 10pm on Thursday 28 March will avail of the early bird rate of €120 (entry thereafter is €200) with the final date for entries no later than 10pm on Thursday 11 April.

Published in Youth Sailing

Next Wednesday evening (10 October), Baltimore RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew will lay a wreath at the Catalogues to commemorate the centenary of the wreck of the Thomas Joseph.

The 60ft lugger was wrecked on the Catalogue Rocks between Sherkin Island and the mainland. Six people, including owner and captain John Daly, lost their lives in the tragedy, with five rescued.

The fishing boat had just been fitted with a new Parsons marine engine, but 100 years later it is still not known whether that was a contributing factor to the Thomas Joseph’s loss.

What is understood is that within 10 minutes of Baltimore on voyage to nearby Schull, disaster occurred.

Baltimore RNLI’s Facebook page has much more on the story HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Optimist - The International Optimist Dinghy Association Ireland (IODAI) is now recruiting both national and international coaches for its annual spring training week in Baltimore in February 2019.

Coaches must be available from Sunday 17 to Friday 22 February for what’s widely considered one of the top international sailing clinics for Optimist sailors.

Each year the West Cork event kicks off the Optimist season in Ireland, with some 100 young sailors taking part in the week-long clinic.

The IODAI advises that positions for instructors limited and will be allocated based on previous coaching experience working at the camp, availability, qualifications and the needs of the fleet from beginner level right up to international competitors.

Applicants should send their sailing CV by email by Friday 2 November at the latest to Mandy Kelly at [email protected] Informal enquiries should be directed to the same address.

Published in Optimist

#Lifeboats - Baltimore RNLI has welcomed its new Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat on service in the West Cork village.

The inshore lifeboat arrived at Baltimore lifeboat station on Thursday 13 September and replaces the Atlantic 75 class lifeboat, Patricia Jennings, which has been used to save lives at sea in Baltimore since 2016.

Last week saw the volunteer lifeboat crew undertake familiarisation training on the Rita Daphne Smyth, and the new inshore lifeboat officially went on service at Baltimore lifeboat station last Thursday evening (20 September) alongside the all-weather lifeboat Alan Massey.

The new lifeboat has been funded through a legacy from the late Rita Daphne Smyth, a native of Harrow in Middlesex, England, who was a supporter of the charity’s volunteers in saving lives at sea.

The Rita Daphne Smyth will be officially named at a special
ceremony and service of dedication.

In her two years in Baltimore, Patricia Jennings launched 21 times, with its volunteer lifeboat crew rescuing 17 people.

The new lifeboat has some advancement on its predecessor. The Atlantic 85 is 10m longer than the Atlantic 75 and allows room for four crew members onboard rather than three.

The lifeboat is powered by two 115hp engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and there is also VHF direction-finding equipment.

The vessel has a manually operated self-righting mechanism which, combined with inversion-proofed engines, keeps the lifeboat operational even after capsize. The lifeboat can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear.

The Atlantic 85, which was introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005, also carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.

Baltimore RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tom Bushe said: “We are extremely grateful to Miss Smyth for the generous legacy donation which has funded our new lifeboat.

“As we welcome a new lifeboat, there is also a sense of nostalgia among us today too as we bid a fond farewell to Patricia Jennings who provided us with two great years of service.

“Patricia Jennings time here in Baltimore brought many people safely to shore and we hope her donor family will be just as proud as we are, of her many achievements.

“We are looking forward to being the custodians of this new lifeboat which will allow our volunteers to go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years to come.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI launched yesterday morning (Tuesday 11 September) to a swimmer reported missing on a swim from Skibbereen to Baltimore in West Cork.

The inshore lifeboat was called to search the Ilen River for the swimmer after a safety boat lost visual contact with him during a squall north of Inishbeg.

Within an hour they were joined by the all-weather lifeboat to search the narrower channels of the river. Toe Head Coast Guard and the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 also assisted.

Some 40 minutes later, at 11.10am, Mizen Head Coast Guard informed all rescue agencies that the swimmer had made his way safely to shore, and all were to stand down.

“This was a great example of multiple rescue agencies working together and thankfully ended with a good outcome,” said Baltimore RNLI press officer Kate Callanan.

Elsewhere in Cork, Ballycotton RNLI launched both their all-weather and inshore lifeboats on Friday afternoon (7 September) to a capsized small sailing dinghy off Ballynamona beach.

A concerned member of the public had witnessed the casualty having difficulty righting the capsized dinghy, which was some 400 metres from the beach.

The crew on board the inshore lifeboat located the casualty in the water approximately 80m from the scene attempting to swim ashore.

The male casualty, believed to have been in the water for nearly 30 minutes, was brought onboard the inshore lifeboat and transferred to the larger all-weather vessel where he was administered first aid, then brought ashore where a local doctor and ambulance crew were waiting to assist.

“Thanks to the vigilance and very quick thinking of the local members of the public, they contributed to a speedy recovery with a positive outcome for all involved,” said Ballycotton RNLI coxswain Eolan Walsh.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI assisted four people after their boat ran aground when they took a wrong turn above Victoria Lock on the River Shannon yesterday (Sunday 9 September)

Water levels at the casualty vessel’s location were very low when the lifeboat arrived at 2.11pm, a little over an hour after launch.

All four on board the casualty boat were safe and unharmed. The skipper had dropped anchor as there was a strong flow, combined with wind, at the location.

While the vessel had sustained damage to its propellers and drive, its hull was not holed.

The lifeboat took the casualty vessel under tow back to the main navigation channel and onwards to Shamrock Marina at Banagher, the closest safe harbour and where the vessel had a mooring at which it was safely tied alongside at 4pm.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg Lifeboat Station, advises boat owners to carry up-to-date charts and to familiarise themselves with the buoyage on the Shannon.

Meanwhile, Baltimore RNLI launched their inshore lifeboat around 2.50pm to a sailing sloop that had filled with water near the West Cork harbour.

Within three minutes the inshore lifeboat reached the casualty boat, a 6m sailing vessel with two on board which had been caught up on pot buoys and knocked over by a strong gust.

Another RIB with a Baltimore lifeboat crew member was an ready on standby as the sailors bailed out their vessel, and after helping to speed up the process, they soon had the boat clear of water and ready to sail back to Baltimore Harbour unassisted.

Much earlier on Sunday, Portaferry RNLI were part of the multi-agency response to a Mayday call from a lone sailor on a 20m act grounded at Phennick Point near Ardglass in Co Down.

Due to the vessel’s position on dangerous rocks and with fishing gear in the area, only Portaferry’s inshore lifeboat was small enough to manoeuvre through the rocks and rough seas to retrieve the sailor and transfer him safety to Ardglass Marina.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI was called out last night (Tuesday 4 September) to a speedboat with engine trouble near Bird Island in West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were on exercise in their inshore lifeboat when the request came in from the Irish Coast Guard at 7.55pm to assist the 17ft speedboat, with four people onboard and reporting to have engine trouble north of the island near Cape Clear.

The lifeboat, with three volunteer crew onboard — helm John Kearney, John McDonough and Colin Rochford — was already in the vicinity of Cape Clear when the call came in and reached the casualty vessel at 7.57pm.

Conditions at the time were calm with a northerly Force 2-3 wind and slight sea swell.

When the lifeboat crew arrived on scene, the speedboat was only 100m north of Bird Island and was drifting towards the shore in calm seas, but in an area known for its strong tides.

The lifeboat immediately secured a tow line to the bow of the speedboat and, after confirming all onboard were okay, they towed the vessel to Baltimore harbour.

In other news, Baltimore RNLI’s annual barbecue will be hosted by Derry and Sally Anne Clarke at Sherkin House on Sherkin Island from 1pm this Saturday 8 September. All are welcome and no booking is required.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI volunteers have rescued four people whose 37-foot boat had run hard aground on the Longford shore.

At 12.17pm yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 29 August) the Irish Coast Guard in Malin Head tasked the Lough Ree inshore lifeboat to the north of Priest Island, at the north of Lough Ree.

Once on scene, the crew members found a boat in deep water at the stern while the bow was out of the water.

Having checked that all onboard were uninjured and that the boat was undamaged, the lifeboat crew attempted to tow the boat into deeper water. Unfortunately they were unable to do so.

Lifeboat helm Stan Bradbury spoke directly to the boat hire company involved, who were sending further assistance.

Speaking after the callout, Bradbury said: “It’s important to remain aware of your surrounds when out on the lake and how close to the shore you may be.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to the lady who contacted the coastguard and remained on scene until our volunteers arrived.”

Elsewhere, Baltimore RNLI was called out to a fishing vessel in difficulty south of Kedge Island.

The eight-metre fishing boat, with two people onboard, had become propped on discarded netting three miles off the island near Baltimore in West Cork.

The lifeboat established a tow and brought the vessel back to Baltimore Harbour, arriving just over an hour after the call came in.

“Today’s call highlights one of the hazards of materials being discarded at sea,” said Baltimore RNLI press officer Kate Callanan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - The hugely successful Cork RNLI charity lunch and auction is set to return after an absence of five years.

The revamped fundraiser for Baltimore, Crosshaven and Kinsale’s RNLI lifeboat stations will take place in the 18th century mansion now home to the Maryborough Hotel in Douglas on Friday 5 October.

Cork has a long and proud association with the RNLI which goes back generations. The men and women who volunteer as lifeboat crew come from local communities and give hours of their time and dedication to the charity.

From the rescue of the Rambler crew by Baltimore RNLI during the Fastnet Race, to rescues of fishermen, divers, swimmers and boaters, the lifeboats and their crew provide an invaluable service.

Last year the Baltimore, Crosshaven and Kinsale RNLI lifeboat stations launched 86 times and brought 116 people to safety. Not every callout is life and death, but to the people involved in every mission, the lifeboats are their lifeline in times of trouble on the water.

The lunch and auction will get underway at 12.30pm with guests welcomed in the Orangery to the accompaniment of live music from Conor Ocean. This will be followed by a three-course lunch in the Sherrard Suite at 1.30pm.

Master of ceremonies Alan Shortt will provide the entertainment and lead the post-lunch auction and draw. The event will finish at 4pm.

RNLI fundraising committee members Avril O’Brien and David Doherty are looking forward to what promises to be an event to remember.

“We are delighted to reintroduce the RNLI lunch and auction,” Avril said. “It was always a popular occasion and as well as raising vital funds it became a highly anticipated social and networking event.

“Volunteer lifeboat crew give so much to the RNLI in terms of their time and dedication to the service and they need to be supported with the best in kit and equipment. Every person who buys a ticket to the fundraiser or bids on an auction item will have the knowledge that they are helping save lives at sea.”

Tickets priced at €65 are now on sale online via Eventbrite and will be sold in tables of 10. For more information about the event contact RNLI Munster community fundraising manager Mary Creedon at [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI carried out a medical evacuation yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 25 July) from Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat following a request from the Irish Coast Guard at 1.42pm to provide medical assistance and evacuation to an islander living on Cape Clear.

Arrived in North Harbour at Cape Clear at 2.05pm, four of the volunteer crew went to the casualty’s location to assist with transfer and casualty care.

Once ready, the casualty was brought onboard Baltimore lifeboat and they departed the island at 3.07pm. The lifeboat returned to station in Baltimore and handed the casualty over to the care of HSE ambulance crew at 3.51pm.

Conditions at sea during the call out were relatively calm, with a south-westerly Force 3-4 wind and one-metre sea swell.

Speaking after the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: ‘Medical evacuations — medevacs — are a regular service that Baltimore RNLI provide between the mainland and islands, and also between the mainland and private and commercial boats at sea.

“If you find yourself in need of medical assistance, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

There were six volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat: coxswain Aidan Bushe, mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Eoin Ryan, Kieran Collins, Emma Lupton and Don O’Donovan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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