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Displaying items by tag: ARC

A loose grub screw was apparently the reason why a Dutch owner of an X-Yachts X4⁹ experienced rudder failure while taking part in a transatlantic cruising race.

During the ARC January race out of Gran Canaria last month, the rudder stock fell out of the top bearing on the affected vessel.

In addition to the loss of steering, the movement of the rudder stock damaged the GRP tube which encapsulates the bottom bearing and forms a water seal towards the inside of the boat.

The crew contacted X-Yachts Holland via satellite phone for guidance in resolving the issue. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to reinsert the rudder stock not the top bearing and were only able to partially secure the top in position.

While they managed to steady the water ingress to a level where the bilge pump could keep up, the crew feared a worsening situation and the next day chose to evacuate the boat and board two other yachts which were attending the race.

Two days after the evacuation, the boat’s insurance company entered with a salvage company who found the boat afloat four days later via its tracker. The generator had stopped but the bilge pump was running and the water level in the boat was still below floorboard level.

The salvage crew got the rudder stock in place and secured in the top rudder bearing relatively quickly, and they had the leak repaired and the water pumped out, after which they could tow the boat towards Gran Canaria some 1,400 nautical miles away.

X-Yachts’ director of design and engineering Thomas Mielec, was ready to meet the boat in Gran Canaria and along with the salvage company and insurance company began a joint effort to identify the cause of the damage.

Diagram showing the structure of the rudder stock on the X4⁹Diagram showing the structure of the rudder stock on the X4⁹

“The crew from the boat took photos and video in their attempt to repair the rudder, and it appeared that the top bearing had separated, and the rudder stock had dropped down,” Mielec said.

“The rudder bearing union nut, which holds the bearing together, had simply turned off the thread at the bottom of the inner housing, and this meant that the rudder and rudder stock, which are otherwise fixed in the bearing, had dropped downwards and out of the bearing.

”This happened even though the locking screw was in place in the union nut, and that with only one impression mark, ie without traces or burrs, which could indicate that the union nut had been turned off with the locking screw engaged. The other parts of the bearing showed no signs of overload prior to the incident in general.”

X-Yachts says it is still too early to draw a conclusion of the definitive cause of the damage, but Mielec suggests two possible scenarios based on the facts and observations found, with the second assessed as most likely:

  1. If it is established that there is no trace of Loctite on the locking screw, one possible scenario is that, in error, the locking screw was never secured with Loctite during manufacture of the bearing, and that the screw, without being noticed, had loosened over a period of two years, permitting the nut to also unscrew over time.
  2. If tests show that there were traces of Loctite in an expected amount on the locking screw, the cause could be that the safety screw had been removed/loosened by mistake during service work, which was carried out in Spain in November.

X-Yachts notes that the locking screw in question is only intended to be operated during the manufacturing of the bearing itself, and it is not necessary/permitted to touch during either assembly or possibly disassembly of the rudder in the yacht.

Published in X-Yachts GB & IRL
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For the first time, Gran Canaria bid farewell to an ARC fleet in the new year as ARC January 2022 set sail from Las Palmas today, Sunday 9 January. The new route has brought together an eclectic fleet of cruising yachts and eager crews excited to embark on a 2,700nm tradewind sail to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.

From the smallest yacht Freeway of Penpol, a Freedom 35 returning to an ARC start line 30 years after its Atlantic crossing with ARC 1992, to the largest yacht Oyster 745 Kalia, one of the newest boats in the fleet launched in 2021, the skyline off the port of Las Palmas was peppered with white sails of boats of all shapes and sizes.

From onboard the Committee Vessel, the first countdown began for the Multihull Division as a steady wind of 15-18 knots blew from South South-East. Leading the fleet of 10 catamarans, Outremer 55 Belle Ile powered through the startline under the watchful eye of skipper Thomas Lurton and the all-French crew. The British flagged Catana 53 PolePole were second over the line follow by Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 Yakira.

Fifteen minutes later, they were followed by the Cruising Division, featuring 28 yachts taking today's start, riding the ocean swell. Many of the skippers opted to start with reduced sails - a sensible precaution with many miles of ocean sailing ahead. First over the line was Trumpeter, a Contest 44CS owned by recently retired couple Chris and Mandy Carlisle; their ARC represents 15 years of dreaming and 6 months of planning, having moved aboard in June 2021. Kalia, the Swiss-Flagged Oyster 745, was second over the line, followed by Bounty, NEIT and I Neverland.

Now the yachts are at sea, crews will adapt to ocean life and quite a change of pace from the pre-departure rush. As boats get south of Gran Canaria there should be some nice E-NE trades forming, giving a pleasant introduction for their ocean sail. The classic route of 'sailing south until the butter melts' is looking best for the fleet before pointing their bows to the Caribbean, avoiding an uncertain low pressure system developing along the rhumb line. Their progress can followed on the YB Tracking App and Fleet Viewer page of the World Cruising Club website.

Published in Cruising
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There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ ARC, and 2021 proved again why sailing the same route at the same time of year can produce so many different experiences. The ingredients of the ARC, the boats and nationalities, ambitions and experience, weather and routing when added together, provide each ARC crew with their own, unique Atlantic adventure.

This time last year, the world was hoping that the pandemic was almost passed, yet sadly it has continued to cast a shadow for the 36th ARC. The success of the 2020 edition added greatly to the smooth running of a second ‘Covid ARC’, with the crews admirably overcoming the challenges of preparing for a long-distance sail whilst following protocols and advice. After the crew-bubbles and mass departure testing for crews in the start port of Las Palmas, which caused 3 boats to postpone their participation, it was a fleet of 143 boats that set out from Gran Canaria on 21st November.

A number of Irish boats participated in both the ARC and ARC + rallies, details here.

This year, the weather has been the talking point on the dockside in Saint Lucia; its impact on routing, crew fatigue, boat gear, and sails. Early calms of week one were displaced by strong, persistent trade winds creating an exciting ride across the 3000NM open ocean. For some, who have loved the waves and the thrills of hand steering down big ocean swells, it was an exhilarating journey. For others, it was a more bruising experience with confused seas and waves kicked-up by an unusual cut-off low pressure system to the north of the Azores sending swells south, to encounter this season’s strong NE trade winds.

Regrettably, for the crew of X-Yachts X4.3 Agecanonix, their ARC ended in tragedy when an involuntary gybe in challenging conditions on the northern route, led to the death of crew member Max Delannoy. A sad loss for them, their families, and the whole ARC community of sailors.

Winds and waves were contributing factors that led to the abandonment of a second ARC boat, after Hanse 588 Charlotte Jane III suffered a catastrophic steering failure, 1500NM out from Saint Lucia. Unable to repair their steering, or steer by drogue in the heavy seas, the crew transferred to Oyster 55 Magic Dragon of Dart, one of several ARC yachts that stood by their fellow ralliers overnight. The combined crews arrived into Rodney Bay to a rapturous welcome 9 days later. Subsequently, both Charlotte Jane III and Agecanonix have now been salvaged, once sea conditions permitted.

It was against this background of challenging weather, drama at sea, and emotions ashore that the ARC crews gathered on the dockside of the IGY Rodney Bay Marina, for the annual prizegiving ceremony which marks the close of this year’s ARC. It was a chance to relive the memories of ARC 2021, to celebrate the achievement of all the ARC sailors in crossing 3,000NM of ocean; and to thank the supporters, the many helpers in Gran Canaria and in Saint Lucia, the customs, immigration, and port health officers, and of course the ARC yellow-shirts, who have worked tirelessly to deliver a Covid-secure event.

Local restrictions on public gatherings in Saint Lucia forced a ‘re-imagined’ prizegiving celebration, with the marina docks becoming one big arena, and crews able to join in from the cockpits of their own boats. The 65ft catamaran Flying Ray became the backdrop, with screens and sound system. Party-bags were delivered to all the boats, and crews from other docks were able to buddy-boat and watch the show as well. ARC Event Director Andrew Pickersgill opened the evening, thanking crews for taking part This year has certainly produced its challenges and we would like to thank you all for your participation in ARC 2021. It has also reminded us that despite advances in technology, the sea and this journey across the Atlantic continues to be real challenge. You should all be extremely proud of your achievement”

At the start of awards for boats in the IRC Racing Division, Andrew Pickersgill invited crews to join together and remember Max Delannoy. The minutes silence broken at the end by an emotional spontaneous round of applause for the crew of Agecanonix.

With the whole dock as an arena, winners were invited from their boats to the podium to receive their awards. 12 Nacira 69, owned by Diego Paternò Castello di San Giuliano and Federico Marchi, and skippered for the ARC by Federico Dosso, scooped the Line Honours for first arrival (Racing) and winners of Racing Division overall. ARC regulars, the crew of Salamander were delighted to win Racing Class B. In the Multihull Division, Gwenael Chapalain’s Marsaudon TS5 Guyader Saveol, took first in Class A, and overall, with Marco Knitel’s Excess 11 Bombarda winning Class B. For the Cruising monohulls, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 52.2, Mizar III sailed by Francesco Da Rios took the overall winner’s spot, making it two-out-of-three for Italian sailors.

Assisting in the presentation of the prizes were Sean Deveaux of IGY Rodney Bay Marina, Taddius Antoine, Chairman of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, and Hon Dr Ernest Hilaire, Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information. Each addressed ARC 2021 participants, commending their achievement for crossing the Atlantic and warmly welcomed them to call Saint Lucia 'home.'

The ARC is a cruising rally, and in this spirit, there were awards for categories not related to the competition. Biggest and smallest fish, radio net controllers, oldest and youngest skippers were amongst the many prizes. One of the biggest cheers was for the ARC family boats – 33 young sailors, aged from 3 to 14 sailing on 15 boats this year. Each young sailor received an award to recognise their achievements.

As we have all become used to socialising at a distance, the ARC SSB Radio Net was a hive of activity in 2021 with creating a thriving community. From quizzes to recipe tips, comparing weather and squall activity to fishing brags, those taking part in the Net find it a real highlight in sailing within a fleet of boats. Arriving in Saint Lucia, the ‘Net-Controllers’ all received the warmest of welcomes and there were big cheers at the prizegiving as the hosts put faces to voices and came on stage.

Friends and family following the boats at home have been able to get a flavour of Atlantic sailing from the blogs sent in from the crews during their crossing. Prizes were awarded for the best non-English log to the Chilean crew of Minga and best photos sent in from perennial ARC participant Emily Morgan. For their amusing daily logs, the creative crew of Maalu IV were presented with the Best Overall Logs prize.

The full list of winners and results are on the ARC website here.

Each year, the highlight of the awards evening is the presentation of the converted ‘Spirit of the ARC’ award. Saved for last in the proceedings, this is given to the crew, or crew member, who, through their extraordinary actions, have demonstrated the spirit of what the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is all about - safer and enjoyable longer distance cruising, in the company of others. To delighted applause, the crew of Magic Dragon of Dart were called on stage to receive this year’s award, recognising their selfless support of Charlotte Jane III.

Wrapping up the evening, World Cruising Club’s Andrew Pickersgill, thanked all the crews for making ARC 2021 such a special event, and praised Saint Lucia for their welcome and support for all the ARC crews. World Cruising Club will be back in Saint Lucia again in late January 2022, with the first edition of the new ARC January route.

Published in Cruising

Conor Haughey of Malahide’s handsome Moody 54DS Hibernian swept into the finish of the ARC 2021 in Grenada this morning to chalk up a notable international success for Ireland. Hibernian - which sailed the longer ARC + course to take in a brief stopover in the Cape Verde Islands - is currently posted as first in the two main cruiser divisions and fourth overall in Mono-Hulls Line Honours, a remarkable achievement in this mega-fleet event.

Other recent placings of Irish boats still at sea include Nautilus (Lagoon 46 catamaran, Brian O’Sullivan, Tralee) 18th OA, Lir (Lagoon 450S, Brendan Cahill, Waterford) 33rd OA, 9th MultihullA, Ruth II (Oyster 625, 32nd OA in ARC Direct, 13th Cruisers A, Viente (Halberg Rassy 40, David Kelly, Waterford) 112th OA in LH, 7th Cruising E.

Race Tracker here 

Published in Cruising
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Grenada has welcomed the first arrival of ARC+ 2021 as Pierre De Saint-Vincent’s Outremer 51 Piment Rouge (FRA) claimed line honours in the second leg of the cruising rally from Mindelo, Cape Verde.

As Afloat reported yesterday, Malahide's Conor Haughey's Hibernian remains the top cruiser with an estimated finish time early tomorrow morning. 

The next Irish boat estimated to finish is Tralee Bay's Brian O'Sullivan and Francis Clifford's Navillus Lagoon catamaran currently lying in 19th overall and fifth multihull. 

The new French winning multihull, sailed by a crew of six, crossed the finish line off Quarantine Point, St George’s, Grenada at 23:10:23 local time on Wednesday 1st December, completing their transatlantic crossing after 12 days and 14 hours at sea. Arriving after 2,424nm of sailing, there were loud cheers from the crew and music blasting out from the comfortable deck of the catamaran to hail their arrival.

The crew were elated to be the first boat to finish and after crossing the line, made their way into the Carenage, the lively waterfront area which winds around the inner harbour, before being guided by Dock Master Joel into Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina where the ARC+ boats will be hosted over the next few days.

The ARC+ yellowshirts and Marina Manager Zara Tremlett were waiting for Piment Rouge on the dock to give a very warm Spice Island welcome and lines were made fast, the crew donned fun long black wigs and sunglasses for their night time arrival before spraying a bottle of French champagne to celebrate their victory! It has not been an easy run across the Atlantic with light airs haunting the rhumb line route requiring the navigators to sail further south than ever before in search of the tradewinds, but the adrenaline of making landfall and excitement of such a warm welcome provided a fitting end to their voyage.

“I’m feeling good. The ARC+ was a very good experience with a very good crew and there was a great atmosphere on board. We sailed all the time apart from about 4 hours using the engine. We went south and made at least 20 directional changes en route to Grenada from Cape Verde. The last two days were quite difficult, with a lot of rain, but we managed a 240nm run in the last 24 hours. I’ve only had the boat since July but I know now that Piment Rouge is a good boat," said Pierre De Saint-Vincent.

The Piment Rouge crew: Pierre De Saint-Vincent, Hervé Cardona, Catherine Ducret, Vincent Henry, Serge Milliard and Sylvie Servoles.

The first arrival is a special moment as it officially kicks off the ARC+ arrival programme in Grenada. Welcoming the ARC+ fleet for the first time, the Grenada Tourism Authority and staff of Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina have been diligently planning a programme of events compliant with COVID protocols and are dedicated to giving ARC+ sailors the warmest of welcomes to ‘pure Grenada’. A further 70 yachts will make landfall in the coming days and indeed there was not long to wait until the second arrival, Neel 47 BigBird (USA) crossed the line at 04:56:19 local time.

All the yachts are equipped with a YB Tracker, regularly updating their position to the online Fleet Viewer and YB Races app for friends and family to follow the fleet. Tales of fishing triumphs and tradewind sailing will also be sent to the World Cruising Club website, as participants share their ocean adventures.

Published in Cruising
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Conor Haughey of Malahide’s handsome silver-liveried Moody 54DS Hibernian is having a very good Transatlantic race with the ARC+ division of 70 boats, which has taken in the transoceanic hop in two stages with a stop in the Cape Verdes. Hibernian is now just over 300 miles from the finish in Grenada, and showing as first in the Cruisers (Monohull) Division, and fourth overall.

Published in Cruising
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The circumstances surrounding the death of a crew member on ARC yacht Agecanonix at the weekend are not yet known, according to rally organisers the World Cruising Club.

Late on Friday 26 November, a Mayday call was made from Agecanonix requesting a medical evacuation. Sadly, injured crew member Max Delannoy was declared dead before any outside help could be provided.

Agecanonix, an X-Yachts X4³, was sailing with a three-man, all-French crew as part of the ARC IRC Racing Division and had opted for a course well to the north of the rhumb line route to Saint Lucia, aiming to avoid the light winds affecting the southerly route close to Cape Verde.

MRCC France Gris-Nez were initially involved in controlling the incident, before passing over to MRCC Ponta Delgada in the Azores as the closest station to the Agecanonix.

At the request of MRCC, the cruise ship PV Mein Schiff 1 diverted to evacuate Philippe Anglade, who was also injured; Jean-Philippe Anglade; and the body of Max Delannoy.

PV Mein Schiff 1 arrived at the distress position as planned around 21:30 UTC on Saturday 27 November. Weather locally had easterly Force 8 winds with rough seas of four to five metres.

The larger vessel was positioned to create a lee for the rescue operation. After assessing the situation, the ship’s rescue boat was deployed and started approaching the Agecanonix.

During this time winds started gusting to more than 40 knots and Agecanonix started moving out of control, so the rescue operation had to be aborted. PV Mein Schiff 1 then remained in the vicinity waiting for the weather to improve and for daylight.

At around 14:00 UTC on Sunday 28th November, MRCC Ponta Delgada reported that the rescue operation was successfully completed, with both crew and the deceased safely on board, and PV Mein Schiff 1 had set course for Funchal in Madeira.

The Agecanonix has been abandoned at approximate position 29° 3.71 N, 026° 30.38 W and continues to be tracked by MRCC via the onboard YB tracker.

The World Cruising Club said: “Our thoughts are very much with the Anglade and Delannoy families during this sad and difficult time.

“World Cruising Club would also like to express their sincere gratitude to all the staff at the MRCC's involved in coordinating the incident, and in particular to the Captain, officers and crew of PV Mein Schiff 1.”

Five Irish boats are taking part in this year’s ARC and ARC+ transatlantic rally which set sail from the Canary Islands earlier this month, as previously reported on

Published in Cruising
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ARC+ 2021, World Cruising Club’s two-stage transatlantic rally to Grenada, set sail today from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with 70 boats spirited away by the tradewinds bound for Mindelo Marina in Cape Verde for the first leg. Years of planning, months of preparations, and days of checking off the jobs list has gone in ahead of today's departure, which saw crew from 24 different nationalities heading off to begin their Atlantic adventure.

Three Irish entries were among today's departures; two multihulls and a monohull yacht. 

Conor Haughey is the skipper of Hibernian, a Dublin-based Moody 54DS. Brendan Cahill set sail in Lir, a Lagoon 450 as did County Kerry's Brian O'Sullivan and Frances Clifford in the Lagoon 46 Navillus. 

Brian O'Sullivan and Frances Clifford's Lagoon 46 NavillusBrian O'Sullivan and Frances Clifford's Lagoon 46 Navillus

The rally began with a programme of pre-departure activities to ensure the boats and crews were suitably ready for departure. From the end of October, Las Palmas Marina has become a colourful sight with yachts dressed overall and rally flags flying. ARC+ has had a real family feel this year with 17 boats sailing with children on board and a total of 33 kids set to enjoy their first taste of Atlantic sailing on the rally.

Following COVID-secure protocols, organised activities for participants prior to departure have included a range of seminars, crew suppers and drinks events creating a great community spirit amongst the sailors. Rally organisers World Cruising Club have supported their preparations with one-to-one safety checks of boat equipment and smoothing their logistics, and the many marine businesses around the city have assisted with getting the boats ship shape for departure.

There was great excitement around the docks of Las Palmas marina as start day dawned and lines were slipped to head out to the starting area. “We are really looking forward to the departure. We deferred from last year’s rally so it seems like we’ve been waiting such a long time so we just can’t wait to get going!” said Derek Frame, British owner of the Wauquiez 47PS Delite, “It was a really good Skippers Briefing yesterday and we’ve had great advice and help from World Cruising Club, so I feel we are prepared and ready go now.”

Stephan Friedel, skipper of the German Catana 531 Rob Roy III says that he has enjoyed his time here but after four weeks in Gran Canaria it will be good to start. “We want to get going now and everyone is ready and wants to get into warmer tropical weather. It’s time to go now it’s a bit cooler here! My first Atlantic crossing was in 1998, but this will be my first rally and my first as skipper - a dream that I’ve had since I was a young boy, so I’m excited that finally it has come true!”

As forecast, the winds on start day provided a rock and roll departure with 15-20knts blowing steadily in the starting area from the North East and a significant swell running outside the shelter of the port. The countdown began from ARC+ Rally Control onboard ARC yacht Vahine (FIN) acting as committee vessel for the ARC+ starts. At 12:45, the multihulls were led away by the impressive Outremer 51 Piment Rouge (FRA) and Neel 47 Bigbird (USA) flying across the line close to the shore to the delight of the spectators strolling along the Avenida Marítima.

At 13:00 it was the turn of monohulls with the Cruising Division setting off on the 865nm passage to Mindelo. It was the Beneteau Oceanis 40, Sala from Norway sailed by the Christensen family under the watchful eye of their weather expert Mads Liestøl Christensen who were first to cross the line. The Irish Moody 54 DS Hibernian skippered by Conor Haughey was next and another Norwegian family boat, Albicilla, crossed in third place with a big cheer on board. The start was quite a sight as the fleet bounced through the ocean waves and bid farewell to the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

For their first night at sea, moderate trade winds are expected to whisk the fleet away from Gran Canaria before decreasing as the yachts get closer to the Cape Verde Islands in the coming days.

On arrival in Mindelo, there is an exciting programme for crews to explore ashore and the stopover has been extended to give crews more time to enjoy the islands. The first boats are expected from Friday 12 November and will receive a warm welcome from the teams of Marina Mindelo staff and World Cruising Club.

Following the stopover, ARC+ has a new Caribbean destination this year and the fleet will be sailing to Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina on the island of Grenada. The re-start from Mindelo will be on Friday 19 November.

All the yachts are equipped with a YB Tracker, regularly broadcasting their position to the online Fleet Viewer and YB Races app for friends and family to follow the fleet. Tales of fishing triumphs and tradewind sailing will also be sent to the World Cruising Club website, as participants share their ocean adventures.

There are three transatlantic departures from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria organised by World Cruising Club under the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers banner: ARC+ 2021, ARC 2021 and ARC January 2022.

Published in Cruising

A young woman with cerebral palsy has become the first person to cross the Atlantic by ‘sip and puff’ sailing.

Natasha Lambert — who three years ago sailed into Dun Laoghaire to complete a crossing of the Irish Sea by the same means — controls the helm and sails of her vessel with a straw.

As Yachting Monthly reports, Natasha’s father Gary designed the system that drives her Nautitech Open 46, named Blown Away — which also happens to be the largest vessel ever adapted for sip and puff sailing.

Twenty-three-year-old Natasha lives with quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy but hasn’t let it stop her attempting sailing feats that would be a challenge for even the most experienced able-bodies sailors.

And her latest achievement was skippering Blown Away with her family from Gran Canaria to the Caribbean as part of the 2020 ARC rally.

Yachting Monthly has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruising

A National Yacht Club crew from Dublin Bay have finished fourth in class and fourth monohull in the 2019 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). 

As previously reported on Afloat, the NYC crew made the crossing in the 80-foot Swan yacht Umiko

The transatlantic crew were former NYC Commodore Paul Barrington, Paul Fagan, Teddy Murphy, Dave O’Reilly, Barry O’Sullivan Alan Daly and Brian Uniacke. The NYC sailors were also joined by a father and daughter from Sweden Carl and Carolina Urban. The skipper was Olly Cotterdel. 

UMiko NYCThe NYC crew cross the finish line in St Lucia Photo: Photo Action


It is the second transatlantic success in as many days for the NYC as cadet member Conor Totterdell finished second in the RORC Transat race.

Published in Offshore
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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.


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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