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Baltimore RNLI and R117 Rescue Lone Sailor from Capsized Catamaran 70 Miles South of Baltimore, West Cork (Coastguard Heli Video Here!)

21st July 2022
Baltimore RNLI all-weather lifeboat rescue the solo sailor from his capsized catamaran
Baltimore RNLI all-weather lifeboat rescue the solo sailor from his capsized catamaran. See video below Credit: Irish Coastguard video grab

Baltimore RNLI were called out to assist a lone sailor whose yacht had capsized 70 miles off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork, yesterday evening (Tuesday 19 July).

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 5.50 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a lone sailor who had been taking part in a race when his yacht capsized, approximately 70 miles off the coast of Baltimore.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at the casualty vessel at 9.08 pm. The sailor was on the upturned hull of the catamaran in which he had been racing in single-handedly.

Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 was also on scene.

The lone sailor was on the upturned hull of the catamaranThe lone sailor was on the upturned hull of the catamaran. Screengrab from Irish Coastguard video below

Due to the conditions at sea, Coxswain Aidan Bushe decided the best course of action was to launch their small inflatable Y-Boat from the all-weather lifeboat with two RNLI crew members on board.

The RNLI Y-Boat alongside the casualty vessel to rescue the sailor from the upturned hullThe RNLI Y-Boat alongside the casualty vessel to rescue the sailor from the upturned hull. Screengrab from Irish Coastguard video below

Brendan Cottrell and Brian McSweeney were able to manoeuvre the Y-Boat alongside the casualty vessel to rescue the sailor from the upturned hull.

RNLI crew members assisted the sailor up on to the Baltimore lifeboat from the Y-BoatRNLI crew members assisted the sailor up on to the Baltimore lifeboat from the Y-Boat. Screengrab from Irish Coastguard video below

RNLI crew members assisted the sailor up on to the lifeboat from the Y-Boat and Rescue 117 winched the casualty from the lifeboat into the helicopter where they then departed the scene at 9.58 pm. Baltimore RNLI crew members recovered their Y-Boat and the lifeboat made its way back to Baltimore, arriving back at the station at 1.30 am.

Rescue 117 winched the casualty from the lifeboat into the helicopterRescue 117 winched the casualty from the lifeboat into the helicopter. Screengrab from Irish Coastguard video below

Irish Coast Guard video of the dramatic rescue

 

There were seven volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Nigel Kehoe and crew members Brendan Cottrell, Eoin Ryan, Brian McSweeney, Jim Griffiths and Emma Lupton. Conditions at sea during the call were challenging with a north to north westerly force 6-7 wind and a 3 to 4m sea swell.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘This is a great example of a joint-agency rescue working together under difficult conditions to save a life. We wish the sailor a speedy recovery and thank our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard for all assistance provided during this callout'.

Drheam Cup

The lone sailor involved was well-known French yachtsman Loic Escoffier competing in the Drheam Cup in his catamaran Lodigroup.

The 41-year-old from Saint-Malo had left Cherbourg and was 60 miles south of Fastnet when the boat capsized with him inside. 

Rescued - French yachtsman Loic EscoffierRescued - French yachtsman Loic Escoffier

The alarm was raised at around 4pm on Tuesday and the coast guard and RNLI picked him up shortly before midnight. 

Loic had spent his time capsized on the inside of the vessel, and the emergency effort was coordinated by the Valentia Coast Guard.

Lodigroup has issued thanks to the rescue services for their 'reactivity and professionalism' and also to Brieuc Maisonneuve, a rival Rhum Multi competitor, who stood by Escoffier until his evacuation.

Loic Escoffier on his catamaran LODIGROUP prior to the capsize in the 900-mile Drheam-Cup A photo of the catamaran LODIGROUP prior to the capsize in the 900-mile Drheam-Cup  Photo: Thierry Martinez

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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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