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Baltimore Lifeboat Rescues 13 On Stricken Fastnet Yacht

10th August 2017
Baltimore RNLI safely secures the stricken Fastnet Race yacht in Baltimore Harbour Baltimore RNLI safely secures the stricken Fastnet Race yacht in Baltimore Harbour Photo: Baltimore Lifeboat Station/Facebook

#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
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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