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A significant crowd gathered at Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat station in West Cork for the naming ceremony of the new Shannon class lifeboat on Saturday. Val Adnams, the principal donor, flew from Idaho, USA, to name the state-of-the-art vessel. Esteemed guests, including the Lord Mayor of County Cork, Tánaiste Michéal Martin, RNLI Head of Region Anna Classon, RNLI Director of Engineering and Supply Jamie Chestnutt, Coast Guard Head of Operations Gerard O’Flynn, and several search and rescue colleagues from local lifeboat stations and Coast Guard Units, were present.

Lifeboat donor Val Adnams pictured with An Tánaiste Michéal Martin and members of Courtmacsherry RNLI at the Naming Ceremony for the station’s Shannon class lifeboat.Lifeboat donor Val Adnams pictured with An Tánaiste Michéal Martin and members of Courtmacsherry RNLI at the Naming Ceremony for the station’s Shannon class lifeboat

Val Adnams, a lifelong supporter of the RNLI and an avid sailor and sportsperson, grew up in Preston and Weymouth. She expressed her gratitude and said, "It is worth funding this Shannon class lifeboat. It warms my heart to know that this lifeboat will be helping the crew to keep the waters around Courtmacsherry lifeboat station safe."

The lifeboat has the latest marine propulsion technology, ensuring improved control and manoeuvrability, with safety as the top priority. The vessel has an expected lifespan of fifty years. Brian O’Dywer, the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Operations Manager, received the lifeboat and thanked the donor for her generous gift. He praised the capability of the new lifeboat and expressed his confidence that it will provide a safe environment for their crew and a first-class rescue service for seafarers in need of assistance at sea.

Lifeboat donor Val Adnams pours champagne over the bow of Courtamacsherry’s Shannon class lifeboat at the Naming Ceremony for the station’s Shannon class lifeboatLifeboat donor Val Adnams pours champagne over the bow of Courtamacsherry’s Shannon class lifeboat at the Naming Ceremony for the station’s Shannon class lifeboat

The lifeboat was displayed in the harbour, followed by a flyover by the Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 117. The ceremony concluded with a service of dedication and a heartily sung chorus of the Phil Coulter lifeboat anthem ‘Home from the Sea.'

The new Shannon class lifeboat replaced the station's previous All-Weather lifeboat, Frederick Story Cockburn, which went on 370 callouts during its service. The ceremony was held a day after the death of Gerry Turner, the previous Lifeboat Operations Manager, who was remembered by the current manager in his opening remarks.

The crew and station management had a long day as the lifeboat had been launched at 5.20 am that morning to reports of a swimmer in difficulty off Inchydoney, but the callout ended successfully as Afloat reported here.

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A sea swimmer in West Cork was rescued by an RNLI lifeboat crew in thick fog this morning. 

The Courtmacsherry RNLI All Weather Lifeboat "Val Adnams" was called early this morning (Saturday, September 9th) by the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre to help a swimmer in trouble off Inchydoney Island beach in West Cork. Despite the thick fog, the Lifeboat, led by Coxswain Mark Gannon and with a crew of five, quickly assembled and headed towards the area at 5.34 am. Fortunately, the swimmer had made it to shore safely with the assistance of a friend. Once the swimmer's safety was confirmed, the Lifeboat returned to its base in Courtmacsherry.

Vincent O'Donovan, the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Launch Authority and press officer, expressed his gratitude to the 20 volunteer crew and officers who quickly responded to the call for help. He emphasised the importance of dialling 999 or 112 in emergency situations, stressing that every minute counts. He wishes everyone using the coastline a safe and enjoyable weekend.

This morning's crew on the callout included Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Stuart Russell, and crew members Ken Cashman, Donal Young, Denis Murphy, and Kieran Boyle. It is a special day at the Lifeboat Station as the Naming Ceremony for the new Lifeboat "Val Adnams" takes place in the Village at 1.45 pm, and everyone is invited to attend. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Courtmacsherry RNLI were called out just before midnight on Monday (17 July) by Valentia Coast Guard to go to the immediate aid of a 29ft yacht which had suffered mast, power and mechanical difficulties some 69 miles south of Courtmacsherry in West Cork.

The all-weather lifeboat Val Adnams, under coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of five assembled from their beds at speed, was under way quickly in darkness to face into tough weather conditions at sea on Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday (18 July).

It emerged that the yacht was on passage from Cork to France with two people on board when they got into difficulties in bad weather.

As they were unable to raise the alarm on their own VHF radio, they fired two red distress flares which were spotted by the crew of the fishing vessel Harvest Reaper II a number of miles away, who immediately alerted the coastguard.

The lifeboat located the stricken yacht over 69 miles across the Irish Sea at 3.15am and in deteriorating sea and weather conditions, it was decided to take the yacht in tow and return under a safe speed to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

The Courtmacsherry lifeboat crew that were at sea on this call-out for over 14 hours as the darkness grew into light | Credit: RNLI/CourtmacsherryThe Courtmacsherry lifeboat crew that were at sea on this call-out for over 14 hours as the darkness grew into light | Credit: RNLI/Courtmacsherry

After a marathon 11-hour tow, the yacht was returned to Courtmacsherry Pontoon at 2pm and its two crew werepleased to be back to be back on dry land after a very difficult night and morning.

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer said: “It is not very often that red flares are the means of distress communications these days and the importance of having these on board the yacht was ever so important this morning.

“It was great to see nearly two voluntary crews and officers arrive quickly at midnight, within minutes of their bleepers being activated, in order to help others in distress at sea.

“We are so proud of how our new Shannon class lifeboat performed in this, our longest call-out in over a decade and also in very poor conditions.”

The Courtmacsherry lifeboat volunteer crew on today’s marathon mission were coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Tadgh McCarthy, Denis Murphy and Donal Young.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Courtmacsherry All Weather RNLI Lifeboat “Frederick Storey Cockburn” was called out at 1.30 pm on Friday “St Patricks Day”, to aid a large 70 ft fishing vessel that sought assistance 50 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.  

The Lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of five proceeded to the area in rough conditions at sea.

The Lifeboat reached the causality at 4.30 pm and helped the stricken vessel.  Thankfully a short time later, the Fishing vessel and crew were able to get underway again, and the Lifeboat crew stood by for some time until the causality gave the all clear, and the Lifeboat was able to return to base in Courtmacsherry, arriving back to the village pontoon at 8 pm. 

The callout happened today as the Station was preparing for the annual St. Patricks Day Parade in the Village, where the Lifeboat always heads up the sea and land parade.

As the Trent Class Lifeboat went on callout today, in its last three weeks of active service in Courtmacsherry, our new Shannon Class Lifeboat, “Val Adnams,” led the parade under Coxswain Peter Noonan and crew. After 27 years of excellent service in Courtmacsherry, the “Frederick Story Cockburn” was refuelled this evening. It is back on its mooring tonight, ready for further assistance in its final weeks in the village.

Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew and station personnel who took part in the St Patricks Day parades in Courtmacsherry and Clonakilty

Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew and station personnel who took part in the St Patricks Day parades in Courtmacsherry and Clonakilty

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said, “ It was great to be of assistance today on our special National Holiday to go to the aid of the fishing vessel in distress and thanked all the crew who gave up their festive time today to help others who were in danger on the high seas”.

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Crew involved in today’s seven-hour callout were Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Stuart Russell and crewmembers Ken Cashman, Kevin Young, Dean Hennessy and Austin McKenna

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The message, "She is coming over the bar" came over the tannoy, and suddenly, the crowd in the West Cork village of Courtmacsherry swelled to bursting. Despite the inclement January weather, every vantage point was taken up on the street, the pier or the beach.

She came in gracefully escorted by the existing RNLI Lifeboat and also Miss Sallyanne (Baggy), the RNLI Lifeboat from Kinsale, the Irish Coast Guard, followed by a flotilla of local angling boats, ribs, rowers and even a jet ski to an enthralled, cheering excited crowd that entertained all by completing a pirouette to demonstrate her jet drives. One woman in the group shouted, 'It's a celebration. Let's dance'. And they did.

The new lifeboat was escorted into Courtmacsherry by the existing RNLI Lifeboat and also Miss Sallyanne (Baggy), the RNLI Lifeboat from Kinsale Photo: Bob BatemanThe new lifeboat was escorted into Courtmacsherry by the existing RNLI Lifeboat and also Miss Sallyanne (Baggy), the RNLI Lifeboat from Kinsale Photo: Bob Bateman

The crew of the new RNLI Shannon Class 'Val Adnams' after her successful arrivals into Courtmacsherry Photo: Bob BatemanThe crew of the new RNLI Shannon Class 'Val Adnams' after her successful arrivals into Courtmacsherry Photo: Bob Bateman

Finally, the existing Frederick Story Cockburn lifeboat was moored, and the crew joined the delivery crew on the new boat named after Val Adnams.

As Afloat previously reported, a significant amount of the funding for the new boat was provided by a generous donation from Val Adnams, a proud lifelong supporter of the RNLI. Growing up in Preston and Weymouth in the UK, she was an avid sailor who witnessed volunteers from her local station rescue those in distress at sea on many occasions.

The new 'Shannon-class' vessel alongside in Courtmacsherry Photo: Bob BatemanThe new 'Shannon-class' vessel alongside in Courtmacsherry Photo: Bob Bateman

The new 'Shannon-class' vessel will be named after Ms Adnams, who is expected to travel with her family to Courtmacsherry in September for the naming ceremony.

The boat was designed by Irish engineer Peter Eyre who was rescued by RNLI volunteers as a child while swimming at Lough Swilly in Donegal.

The arrival of RNLI's Courtmacsherry New Lifeboat Photo Gallery by Bob Bateman

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Courtmacsherry’s new lifeboat which is scheduled to arrive home at the West Cork harbour this Sunday, January, 22nd was welcomed into Cork Harbour hours earlier on her delivery voyage home from Poole in Dorset.

The new Shannon Class lifeboat arrived in Crosshaven to overnight before heading home to a parade of boats this afternoon.

The Crosshaven RNLI crew diverted from exercise to rendezvous with the new lifeboat at Roches Point and escorted it into Crosshaven.

After a postponement due to bad weather a week ago, Vincent O'Donovan, Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station Duty Launch Authority & Press Officer, says: “Our new Shannon Class all-weather Lifeboat “Val Adnams” has now been confirmed for arrival into Courtmacsherry next Sunday, January 22nd at 1.45 pm".

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Courtmacsherry’s new lifeboat will arrive to the West Cork harbour on Sunday next after having been deferred from last weekend due to bad weather.

Vincent O'Donovan, Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station Duty Launch Authority & Press Officer, says the new arrival date has been confirmed: “Our new Shannon Class all-weather Lifeboat “Val Adnams” has now been confirmed for arrival into Courtmacsherry on next Sunday, January 22nd at 1.45 pm.

“While we were all disappointed that we had to postpone the arrival last weekend, our Village this Sunday will welcome our 11th Lifeboat to be stationed in Courtmacsherry since the foundation of the Station in 1825.

“A flotilla of local boats plus our existing Trent Class Lifeboat will lead the “Val Adnams” up the harbour.”

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The arrival of Courtmacsherry's new Shannon Class lifeboat, "Val Adnams," originally due in this Sunday, has been cancelled due to predicted severe weather on the crossing from RNLI Headquarters in Poole to West Cork.

The RNLI decision to postpone the arrival was announced tonight.

RNLI Courtmacsherry said: "Crew training will continue for the Lifeboat Crew on site in Poole this week and from Saturday in Courtmacsherry on a relief Lifeboat.

The new date for the arrival of the "Val Adnams" will be agreed and communicated as soon as possible. We very much look forward to its arrival but safety on passages is always a priority.

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On Monday afternoon (7 November), as Courtmacsherry RNLI paid tribute to Mary O'Mahony, wife of former crew member Richard and sister-in-law of former coxswain Diarmuid, the station crew and officers taking part in the guard of honour outside the station were alerted that two dogs were in imminent danger stranded on the nearby sandbanks as the tide was rapidly coming in.

The inshore boathouse lifeboat, under coxswain Tadgh MacCarthy with crew members Stuart Russell and Dave Philips, was launched immediately and proceeded at speed towards the last sightings of the dogs.

Charting a tight course to the Burren coastline in West Cork, the lifeboat crew used all their local knowledge to get close to the two dogs in worsening weather conditions.

The lifeboat was able to quickly reach the dogs, who were by this time in the water, and guide both to the safety of the shoreline where locals who had seen the danger unfolding had gathered alongside station officer Garry Barrett.

Both animals were found to be in good condition when getting ashore and were lucky that they had not been swept away in a quick-running sea.

Philip White, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s deputy launching authority praised the quick action of the lifeboat crew: “It was really great to see many members of the public reporting the incident and contacting the lifeboat station with their concerns as it would be vital that owners or locals did not attempt to rescue the dogs themselves in a fast incoming tide.”

Monday was also a very special day for the station as four coxswains — Sean O’Farrell, Mark Gannon, Ken Cashman and Peter Nunan — departed in the early morning to commence their week-long training in Poole on the south Coast of England for the new Shannon Class lifeboat which will arrive in Courtmacsherry in mid January.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Courtmacsherry RNLI's all-weather lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out at 10.40am on Tuesday morning (4 October) to help three people on a 70ft fishing boat in difficulty 22 miles offshore, southeast of the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Under coxswain Sean O’Farrell and a crew of five, the lifeboat was under way quickly and immediately made its way to the area of the casualty to assess the situation.

The distress alarm was raised by the fishing vessel’s crew with the Irish Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Valentia, when they fouled their propellers and became disabled while trawling in the area.

The lifeboat located the casualty at 11.50am and a tow rope was immediately attached in order to secure the fishing vessel in lumpy seas with a strong wind blowing and a three-metre swell.

Having assessed the situation, a decision was made to tow the boat which had three crew on board, to the nearest port of Kinsale, where it was successfully docked at the local pier at 6pm.

Commenting on the callout, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s deputy launching authority Philip White praised all crew for carrying out the rescue so professionally.

“It is ironic that our crew was involved in a long eight-hour rescue today, at the same time that the station’s new Shannon class lifeboat came off the production line in Poole and the traditional bell ringing ceremony was held.”

The crew on board Tuesday’s callout alongside O’Farrell were mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Pat Lawton, Tadgh McCarthy, Evin O’Sullivan and Gearoid O’Donovan.

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