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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

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

Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of kayakers who got into difficulty near Kilard Point late yesterday afternoon (Monday, 7 November).

Portaferry RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat promptly at 2.20 pm and made their way to Kilard Point in Strangford Lough. The crew launched in cloudy weather conditions with good visibility, a Force Six south-westerly wind direction and a moderate sea state.

When on scene at 2.30 pm the crew searched the Kilcief shoreline for two kayakers reported to be in one inflatable kayak. After an update from HM Coastguard, the lifeboat crew commenced a search one mile east of St. Patrick’s Rock, Strangford Lough, where they faced weather conditions of a Force 8-10. Whilst completing the search, the crew spotted the two kayakers located 50 yards off the fairway buoy.

The two men who were safe and well were taken onboard the lifeboat and the inflatable kayak was left on scene due to the adverse conditions. The lifeboat crew then took the kayakers to Strangford pontoon where they were transferred into the care of the NI Ambulance service.

Commenting on the call out, Portaferry RNLI Helm Dave Fisher said: ‘Despite the adverse weather conditions on scene, the quick actions by the lifeboat crew resulted in a favourable outcome. Thankfully the two kayakers were returned to shore with no injuries. Their ability to raise the alarm to the Coastguard via a mobile device was the right choice to make’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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An Omagh man who was rescued by the Irish Coast Guard after he was caught in a rip current off a Donegal beach in July has completed the Dublin Marathon in his bare feet to raise awareness of water safety and to raise funds for the RNLI.

A seasoned open water swimmer, Chris Gallagher was visiting Murder Hole Beach when he got caught in a rip current.

“I am an experienced swimmer, having previously been a lifeguard and a world record swimmer as well as swimming all over the world including in Australia but I have never been caught like this before,” he said of his ordeal.

“I wasn’t even 10 metres out into the water when the ferocious rip caught me and threw me about like what I can only describe as being in an industrial washing machine and a racing car at the same time, it was powerful, and I had absolutely no control.

“I felt calm initially as I know how to work my way out of a rip curl as I was caught in Australian waters 22 years ago but nothing I tried worked.

“By the grace of God, a rock was in my grasp as I was being pulled into the rip roaring waters and I managed to get my body out of the water onto that wee rock but I was fighting the waves to stay on as they threw me on and off like a rag doll. I was clinging to the rock for dear life for two hours.”

Given the conditions, the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to the scene and rescued Gallagher from the water.

‘I am an experienced swimmer…but I have never been caught like this before’

Since he was rescued, Gallagher has signed up to be a water safety volunteer with the RNLI with a particular interest in highlighting the dangers of open water swimming.

He has also taken part in a series of inspiring fundraising events with his most recent venture to not only undertake the Dublin Marathon but to do it in his bare feet, which he completed successfully last Sunday (30 October). He also completed the Kerry Hardman Ironman triathlon on his birthday in August and in September a 5k swim of Glencar Lough in Sligo.

To round off his series of events, he is running an Eighties-themed night this Saturday 5 November in the Village Inn in Killyclogher. Proceeds from all events will go to Bundoran RNLI and Lough Erne’s two RNLI lifeboat stations, at Enniskillen and Carrybridge in Northern Ireland.

Speaking of Gallagher’s efforts to raise both funds and water safety awareness, RNLI community manager Nuala Muldoon said: “Chris really is an inspiration and his own rescue story highlights how even the most experienced water users can still find themselves in difficulty.

“We are delighted that he is now promoting water safety and are in awe at how adventurous he has been in setting himself courageous challenges in his pursuit to raise funds.

“Thanks to Chris, the proceeds raised will now power our lifesaving volunteer crews to continue their good work in saving lives both at sea and on inland waters.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI lifesavers in West Cork feature in the new series of Saving Lives at Sea documentary

The RNLI volunteer crew at Baltimore will feature in the final episode of the new series of the popular BBC Two programme Saving Lives at Sea next week.

Featuring rescue footage, the primetime documentary series lets viewers witness rescues through the eyes of the RNLI lifesavers while meeting the people behind the pagers.

The popular 10-part documentary is now in its seventh series and includes the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK.

Including interviews with lifeboat crews, the series will also hear from the rescuees and their families who are here to tell the tale, thanks to the RNLI.

Baltimore All Weather Lifeboat - please credit Michael MacSweeney / ProvisionBaltimore All Weather Lifeboat - Photo: Michael MacSweeney / Provision

This forthcoming episode on BBC2 at 7 pm next Thursday, 10 November, includes Baltimore RNLI’s rescue in July this year when the crew were called to assist a lone sailor whose catamaran had capsized 70 miles off the coast of Baltimore. As Afloat reported at the time, the sailor had been taking part in a race when he got into difficulty, and on arrival, the lifeboat crew found him on the upturned hull of the catamaran in which he had been racing in single-handedly. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew, Rescue 117 from Waterford, were also involved in the rescue.

Baltimore RNLI Coxswain Aidan Bushe, who will feature in the upcoming episode, says: ‘This call out was a great example of a joint-agency rescue where we worked together with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard under difficult conditions to save a life.

‘We are delighted to see this rescue featured on this year’s series of Saving Lives at Sea. Our lifesaving work would not be possible without donations from the public, and we are delighted to be able to share a frontline view of the rescues they support with their kind generosity.’

In 2021, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 1,078 times, coming to the aid of 1,485 people, 21 of whom were lives saved. Baltimore RNLI launched 25 times, bringing 33 people to safety.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Carrybridge RNLI helms Chris Cathcart and David Reid have served 20 years rescuing those on trouble on Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

During a recent visit to the station by the RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie, they were presented with medals to thank them for their volunteering service.

Over the past 20 years since the lifeboat station was formed on Upper Lough Erne, Chris and David have been involved in hundreds of rescues involving a wide variety of callouts.

Between the two volunteers, they have attended all manner of shouts on Lough Erne including to people, boats and also stranded animals in distress.

In addition to the helm role, Chris is the lifeboat training coordinator and press officer while David is the inshore lifeboat/launch and recovery plant mechanic. Both are also casualty carers and shore crew.

At a presentation held at the end of the summer, Lord Erne presented 17 of the Carrybridge volunteers with the late Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. The commemorative medal was created to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and awarded to those crew who had served more than five years with the charity.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI praised Chris and David on their fantastic achievement.

“Chris and David carry a pager at all times and when the alarm goes off whether it be day or night, summer or winter both can be relied upon to respond to go to those in need,” he said. “It was a privilege for the volunteers to also be presented with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal by Lord Erne and his wife.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI’s volunteer crew launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat on Monday afternoon (24 October) to assist nine people who were caught by the tide on Omey Island in western Connemara.

Malin Head Coast Guard requested assistance from Clifden RNLI just before 4pm and the lifeboat launched immediately after under the command of volunteer helm Kenny Flaherty.

Weather conditions at the time were poor with heavy rain. However the nine people stranded on the island were found to be well and in good spirits.

The lifeboat crew proceeded to make two trips with the casualties back to the shore at Claddaghduff and safely returned all nine people to the mainland.

Speaking after the shout, Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations officer John Brittain said: “We would remind locals and visitors to always check tide times and heights before venturing out and to always make sure you have enough time to return safely.

“If you do get cut off by the tide, it is important to stay where you are and not attempt a return to shore on your own as that may be when the danger presents and you get into difficulty. Always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI volunteer crew at Dun Laoghaire Harbour will feature in the new series of popular BBC Two programme Saving Lives at Sea this Thursday, October 27.

Featuring footage captured on helmet cameras, the primetime documentary series lets viewers witness rescues through the eyes of the RNLI lifesavers while meeting the people behind the pagers.

The popular 10-part documentary is now in its seventh series and includes the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK.

Including interviews with lifeboat crews, the series will also hear from the rescuees and their families who are here to tell the tale, thanks to the RNLI.

This forthcoming episode on BBC2 at 7pm* on Thursday, 27 October, includes Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s rescue in May 2018 when the volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat on back-to-back call outs, the second of which was to assist a hen party on a motor boat that became fouled on pots.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew member Gary Hayes who will feature in the upcoming episode, says: ‘We are delighted to see this rescue featuring on this year’s series of Saving Lives at Sea. Our lifesaving work would not be possible without donations from the public and we are delighted to be able to share a frontline view of the rescues they support with their kind generosity.’

In 2021, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 1,078 times, coming to the aid of 1,485 people, 21 of whom were lives saved. Dun Laoghaire RNLI launched their all-weather and inshore lifeboat 78 times, bringing 78 people to safety.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Ree RNLI marked a significant milestone on Monday (17 October) when a cheque for €100,000 was presented as the local community contribution to the overall €1.2m cost of the new lifeboat station on a site donated by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland.

The presentation was made by Michael Ganly, chairman of the Lough Ree RNLI Appeal Committee to Anna Classon, the RNLI’s regional head for Ireland.

On her first visit to the new lifeboat station, which was opened this past June, Classon said she was “really impressed by the partnership between the RNLI and the IWAI and to see two great organisations sharing resources for the benefit of the community”.

The community contribution was the result of a fundraising campaign which ran for more than 12 months and was supported by community groups, the corporate sector and a host of individuals for the lakeside community and beyond.

Presenting the cheque, Ganly said: “The work of people like committee secretary Pauline Irwin and all others involved was crucial to the success of the venture.”

The new lifeboat station has been very active this year and has been a particular asset to the 46 volunteer crew as the charity and its lifeboat Tara Scougall have responded to 46 callouts in the year to date.

Reflecting on the successful fundraising campaign, Lough Ree RNLI treasurer Vincent Rafter thanked “all the GoFundMe campaigns, tests of endurance and anonymous donors who contributed amounts large and small to this special community initiative”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Irish Coast Guard has shared video of a drone-assisted rescue in Cork Harbour which it says illustrates the increasing importance of new technology in emergency responses.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Crosshaven RNLI rescued a woman who was cut off by the tide at White Bay on Tuesday evening (11 October).

The lifeboat crew were able to quickly reach the casualty as they were guided by the drone launched by Guillen Coast Guard Unit, the IRCG says.

Lights on the drone were also used to illuminate the area as the volunteers recovered the casualty, Guillen Coast Guard adds.

The IRCG says this was one of two rescues in recent days — the other in Clogherhead, Co Louth — where unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) “successfully and quickly located casualties in dangerous and inaccessible locations requiring extraction by either boat or helicopter”.

Published in Coastguard

For the second night in a row, Larne RNLI’s volunteers have left their beds to go the aid of a vessel’s crew in need of assistance, this time two people on a yacht that got into difficulty northeast of Larne.

The crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 4.40 am following a report that an 11m yacht with two onboard had fouled its propeller on a rope and was stuck fast and unable to make headway, 10 nautical miles east of Larne. The yacht’s crew were on passage from Oban to Bangor when they encountered problems.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Fank Healy with six crew members onboard and made its way to the scene where it arrived 25 minutes later. Weather conditions at the time were good with a calm sea and Force 2-3 winds.

Following an initial visual assessment, it became clear to the lifeboat crew that the yacht was caught on a string of lobster pots. A decision was made to put two crew members onboard who began to work to free the yacht, but this proved a challenging task as some of it was wrapped around the port side propeller.

With one engine still working, a decision was then made for the vessel to make its way into Larne for further inspection under the escort of the all-weather lifeboat with two lifeboat crew remaining onboard.

The passage took an hour and 45 minutes when the vessel was then safely secured and moored up at East Antrim Boat Club.

Speaking following the call out, Larne RNLI Coxswain Frank Healy said: ‘It’s unusual for us to be called out in the early hours of the morning two nights in a row but that is the nature of our role as volunteer crew, and we were happy to help.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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 2023 Date

The 2023 50th Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday, 22nd July 2023

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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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