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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Lifeboat

Achill Island RNLI was involved in the medical evacuation of a female patient from Clare Island this afternoon (Tuesday, 7 September) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 1.15 pm under Coxswain Dave Curtis and with six crew members onboard. It followed a request to assist the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo, due to foggy weather conditions on the island at the time.

Weather conditions improved during the call out and the crew were able to secure a zone for the helicopter to successfully land and take the patient onboard the aircraft. The patient was then transferred to Mayo University Hospital and the all-weather lifeboat, The Sam and Ada Moody, and her crew returned to Achill Island at 3pm.

Speaking following the call out, Dave Curtis, Coxswain said: ‘This is another example of good inter-agency teamwork between our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard and our volunteer crew. We wish the patient well for a speedy recovery.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI lifeboat was requested to assist with a medical evacuation from Tullan Strand, Bundoran this morning (Saturday, 4th September).

Shortly before 1 am a request was received from the National Ambulance Service via Malin Head Coast Guard for assistance from shore crew to extract a casualty who had fallen. While the lifeboat was not launched on this occasion, a number of volunteer crew attended to assist with extraction to the waiting ambulance where the casualty was transferred to Sligo University Hospital. The crew are trained in casualty care with a number of them qualified advanced paramedics.

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Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat launched yesterday (Wednesday, August 4) to a report of a 12-metre fishing vessel with two people on-board, that had broken down 17 miles South West of Dunmore East.

At 5:00 pm the lifeboat launched at the request of the Irish Coast Guard, making best speed, the Trent Class Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat ‘Elizabeth and Ronald’ and her volunteer crew arrived on scene at 6:10 pm, assessed the situation and took the stricken vessel under tow and arrived back to the safety of Dunmore East harbour at 9:30 pm.

Roy Abrahamsson, Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain, said: ‘Weather conditions were good at the time and our volunteer crew train hard for missions like this which made for a very smooth operation. Thankfully all went well and the fishermen are now safely back in port’.

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Wicklow all-weather lifeboat RNLB Joanna and Henry Williams launched shortly after 11 pm tonight (Friday 23 July) following a Coast Guard pager alert, to investigate reports of a yacht in difficulties off the Wicklow Coast.

The Shannon class lifeboat located the yacht twenty-five minutes later, four miles north of Wicklow harbour. Conditions on scene were sea state moderate with wind north-easterly force three.

The yacht with two crew had suffered engine failure while heading north off the coast and was unable to make its way safely into Wicklow harbour. An assessment was carried out and a towline was established with the yacht.

Speaking after the callout, Coxswain Ciaran Doyle said:’ We transferred one of our crew onto the yacht to assist the two sailors during the tow back to Wicklow harbour’.

The yacht was brought alongside the South Quay at Wicklow harbour at 00:30 am on Saturday morning and the two sailors were landed safely ashore.

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As Afloat reported earlier Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch following a Mayday call to assist five people on board a 38ft cruiser on fire, by Castle Harbour, Portumna, at the most northern end of Lough Derg.

When the lifeboat crew assembled at the station, Valentia Coast Guard was informed that three people had been safely evacuated from the vessel.

At 12.16 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, crew Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board. The lake was calm and visibility was excellent.

Aoife Kennedy, Lough Derg RNLI Deputy Launching Authority relayed information from Valentia Coast Guard that the remaining two people had been safely evacuated from the burning vessel. Valentia Coast Guard contacted the lifeboat to request that volunteers check the wellbeing of the casualties.

Rescue 115, the Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Helicopter based at Shannon was also in attendance, as was the Killaloe Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boat, based at Killaloe.

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 12.35 pm. The fire on the casualty vessel had taken hold and fire firefighters from Portumna Fire Service were working to extinguish the fire. All four other casualties were safe and unharmed and were being attended to by ambulance crew at Castle Harbour.

As there was a significant risk to the many boat users close by with fuel onboard the vessel, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and the Killaloe Coast Guard boat to monitor the scene and request that all vessels maintain a safe distance.

At 1.30 pm, firefighters had managed to put out the main fire, however, the vessel was still smouldering and billowing smoke. The anchor line had burned and the vessel was now drifting into the main navigation channel.

At 2.14 pm, the casualty vessel was relocated to Carrigahorig Bay, where firefighters continued to pump water and foam to ensure the fire was fully out.

Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to ‘always be alert to the dangers of fire on a boat and always carry a means of communication so that you can call the emergency services for help’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Yesterday evening (Friday 16 June) at 9.08 pm Ballycotton RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat, the Austin Lidbury was tasked by Valentia Coast Guard to report a boat on fire in the bay between Knockadoon and Ballycotton island.

Conditions were very calm with clear visibility.

Ballycotton RNLI’s volunteer crew launched the lifeboat immediately under Duty Coxswain Michael Hallahan with six crew members on board.

Conditions were calm with clear visibility.

Youghal RNLI, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 and Youghal Coast Guard were also tasked. Following several searches of the area at 10.30 pm all rescue teams were stood down and the call-out was treated as a false alarm with good intent.

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The Union Hall  RNLI volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat Christine and Raymond Fielding, by the Irish Coast Guard at 3.50pm today (Friday 9th July) to reports of two people in difficulty in the small sound, an area north of Rabbit Island, just west of Glandore Harbour.

The lifeboat helmed by Tim Forde with crew Charlie Deasy, Stephen Hurley and Richie O’Mahony made its way to the small sound and met the casualty vessel. The two crew were rowing towards shore as they had engine difficulty, but they were happy enough to not require assistance. They were wearing lifejackets and conditions were favourable with sea conditions calm.

First call-out - The Union Hall RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat crew (from left to right) Richie O’Mahony, Stephen Hurley, Tim Forde, Charlie Deasy, Sean Walsh and Jim MoloneyFirst call-out - The Union Hall RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat crew (from left to right) Richie O’Mahony, Stephen Hurley, Tim Forde, Charlie Deasy, Sean Walsh and Jim Moloney

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Both Wicklow RNLI lifeboats were launched shortly before 5:30 pm this evening following reports of two swimmers in difficulties on an inflatable toy off the Silver Strand beach south of Wicklow Head.

The Inshore lifeboat arrived on scene at 5:38 pm and located four people on rocks near the beach. Two men who were on the beach with their families were concerned about the two young swimmer’s safety and entered the water to help them. They managed to get them up onto rocks near the beach.

Conditions at the scene were wind north-easterly force four with a moderate sea. The inshore lifeboat crew took the four people from the rocks and transferred them to the all-weather lifeboat which was standing by offshore. ‘Rescue 116’ stood by overhead as the casualties were transferred to the lifeboat.

The winchman was lowered onto the lifeboat to carry out a medical assessment of the four casualties. The two young girls were then transferred to the Coast Guard helicopter and flown to Dublin Airport, where they were met by an Ambulance crew and brought for further medical attention.

The two men, who had rescued the two girls did not require any further medical assistance and were brought back to Wicklow harbour for a well-deserved hot drink at the lifeboat station after their quick intervention to help the young girls.

Speaking after the callout, Wicklow RNLI Press Officer, Tommy Dover said, ‘The quick actions of the two swimmers who went to the aid of the young girls resulted in a positive outcome this afternoon and we would urge people not to use inflatable toys on the beach.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Castletownbere RNLI was launched this afternoon (Saturday 5th June 2021) and conducted a joint rescue with Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 of an ill woman on board a local angling boat off the West Cork Coast.

Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was tasked by Valentia Coastguard Radio at 13:42 with a report of a 25-foot boat near the Dursey Sound with a woman on board who had taken ill and was ‘unresponsive’. The Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 was also sent to the scene.

The lifeboat was launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty with mechanic David O’Donovan and crew Joe Cronin, John Paul Downey, Aaron O’Boyle, Kyle Cronin and Donagh Murphy.

The lifeboat located the casualty near Blackball Head and two lifeboat crew volunteers board the vessel. A first aid assessment was undertaken and Oxygen was administered and the casualty became responsive. The woman was then transferred to the lifeboat. The helicopter winchman was lowered to the deck of the lifeboat and the casualty was airlifted to the helicopter at 15:05 and was then taken to Kerry General Hospital.

Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Stevens, complimented the coxswain and crew on its rapid response, the high level of teamwork and stated that the rescue was an ‘excellent example of joint collaboration between the RNLI and the Coast Guard’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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I've never given much thought to why lifeboats are orange. It just seemed to me to be the right colour to be seen easily at sea.

Now I know that it's also a colour that provides reassurance and relief - so the RNLI has told me.

Their boats weren't always the shade of orange that now designates them.

In the 1800s they were painted ultramarine blue until artists from the UK Royal Academy complained in the 20s that the colour was "too French" and it was changed to a darker royal blue in 1923 - with the oars on the rowing lifeboats of the time painted blue and white – different colours for the different sides of the boats which helped Coxswain's instructions as "pull away blues…or whites" for whichever side he needed power from.

Last year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and AugustLast year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and August

In the 1950s red, white and blue, - a touch of French again – was the colour, and there was a grey on superstructures, which was changed to orange on the advice of best visibility at sea. Boats had a blue hull and a red boot top stripe… and later crew gear became yellow, again, easy to see…

The hulls of the offshore boats are still blue… but the superstructure orange is what grabs attention and the inshore boats are also orange.

What brought my thoughts to this is the increased number of emergency call-outs to the RNLI and where they are coming from - kayakers, swimmers, canoeists, paddleboarders, anglers, jet-skis and walkers near the coast, being cut off by tides, feature regularly.

Last year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and August and, with the 'holiday at home' emphasis this year, it could be a busy Summer for lifeboat stations and crews.

There is an increase of interest in marine leisure – good to see – but safety must be paramount, and in this regard, I got a lot of response to my last Podcast, about the use of flares in emergencies. … Are flares or electronics best for emergencies? That seems an open debate, about which more will be heard, and there does seem increasing dependence on mobile phones – not the best option, but better than nothing.

The sight of an orange lifeboat heading to the rescue will always be a relief. This month is the RNLI's Mayday campaign and, with restrictions limiting public collections, do connect with that orange colour and help ensure that it can be seen, when needed, at sea.

Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

©Afloat 2020

Fastnet Race 2021 Date

The 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday 8th August 2021.

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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