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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Baltimore RNLI were called out to provide a medical evacuation this afternoon (Sunday 10 October) from Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 2.39 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation for a woman living on the island.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at North Harbour in Cape Clear Island at 2.58 pm The casualty was transferred onboard the lifeboat and they departed the Island at 3.14 pm. The lifeboat returned to the station in Baltimore, arriving at 3.37pm and the casualty was handed over to the care of the HSE Ambulance crew at 3.43 pm.

There were five volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Jerry Smith, Mechanic Sean McCarthy and crew members Colin Whooley, Don O'Donovan and Jim Baker. Conditions at sea during the call out were calm with a westerly force 3 wind, no sea swell and excellent visibility.

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The volunteer crew at Portaferry RNLI launched at the request of a stand-up paddle boarder in difficulty on Guns Island in Co Down yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 5 October).

Launching at 3.14pm in sunny weather with good visibility and a Force 5 northwesterly wind, the inshore lifeboat arrived on scene 10 minutes later and a crew member was placed on the island to assess the casualty.

The paddle boarder was beginning to suffer from mild hypothermia after having been in the water for some time prior to the lifeboat’s arrival. They were placed onboard the lifeboat and taken ashore at Ballyhornan Bay, where they were transferred to the care of Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Fergal Glynn said: ‘“he casualty was wearing appropriate clothing and had made the right decision to make himself safe on the island once they had got into difficulty.

“We would urge anyone planning to spend time on the water to be careful of the conditions and particularly the wind direction, as offshore winds can prove difficult to fight against.”

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Helvick Head RNLI came to the aid of a fisherman on Saturday afternoon last (2 October) after his 21ft open deck boat broke down at Mine Head.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.26pm following a report that the vessel had suffered intermittent engine failure at Mine Head, off the Old Parish coastline in the Deise Gaeltacht region.

The lifeboat helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Paudie Walsh, Shane Walsh and Simon O’Hare onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene.

There was a Force 5-6 west to north-west wind blowing at the time.

Arriving on scene at 2.46pm, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation before deciding to tow the vessel back to the nearest safe port at Helvick Head Pier where they arrived at 3.20pm.

Speaking following the call out, Helvick Head RNLI Helm Alan Kelly said: ‘The casualty did the right thing by calling for help when he realised he was in difficulty. The winds were too fresh for him to return to the harbour without assistance.

‘We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared. Always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of communication. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

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Achill Island RNLI evacuated a male patient from Inishbofin late last night and into this morning, (Tuesday 5 October). The patient was brought to Cleggan Pier in Galway for further transport to University College Hospital, Galway.

The volunteer lifeboat crew of six with Dave Curtis as Coxswain, left Achill Island at 9.50 pm last night (Monday) to travel a distance of 20 nautical miles to reach their casualty on Inishbofin. The journey took the all-weather lifeboat, Sam and Ada Moody, past Clare Island and Inishturk, then south to Inishbofin in moderate sea conditions with waves of up to two metres in places.

It was a cold, dark night with westerly winds and showers. A light snow flurry greeted the crew when they arrived at Inishbofin, a journey that took the Trent class lifeboat just under an hour to complete on this particular leg. The patient was taken onboard the lifeboat which then travelled to Cleggan where the pier was lit up by members of the Cleggan Coast Guard unit who assisted with transferring the patient to the waiting HSE ambulance. The patient was then transported to University College Hospital in Galway for further treatment and the Sam and Ada Moody returned to Achill Island at 1.26 am this morning.

Speaking after the call out, Ciaran Needham, Achill Island RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘As always, it is great to see inter-agency cooperation working so well in the early hours of the morning. Our volunteers train for all types of sea and weather conditions and are ready to respond whenever their pagers go off, day or night. We were delighted to be able to assist this patient and we wish him a speedy recovery.’

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Donaghadee RNLI came to the aid of seven people onboard an 18ft Bayliner boat that broke down a mile off Ballyhalbert on the Ards Peninsula yesterday afternoon (Sunday 3 October).

The volunteer crew were requested by Belfast Coastguard to launch their all-weather relief Trent class lifeboat MacQuire at 12.30pm and assess the situation where the boat was reported to be drifting.

The lifeboat launched immediately under Coxswain John Ashwood.

Weather conditions at the time were sunny with partial cloud and a Force 4 north westerly breeze.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew observed that all were safe and well and the boat’s crew had tied the vessel to a nearby lobster pot to prevent it from drifting any further.

Having assessed the situation, Coxswain John Ashwood decided to take six of the crew onboard the lifeboat while leaving the skipper on the vessel as the lifeboat prepared to tow it to the nearest safe port at Portavogie.

Speaking following the call out, Gerry Watts, Donaghadee RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘The crew onboard did the right thing in raising the alarm when they knew they were difficulty and they managed to prevent the vessel from drifting any further by tying it up when they could.

‘We would remind everyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of communication. Always let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

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Bundoran RNLI came to the aid of a family who got caught in a rip current off the Main Beach in Bundoran on Saturday afternoon (2 October).

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 4.09 pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that three people had got into difficulty in a rip current and while two had made it to safety, a third who was a teenage girl, was being taken out to sea.

The lifeboat helmed by Brian Gillespie and with three crew members onboard, launched immediately and made its way the short distance to the beach arriving on scene just six minutes after the request to launch was made. Meanwhile, a member of the public who had been visiting Bundoran grabbed a lifebuoy, jumped into the water, and made his way to the teenage girl where he held her until the lifeboat arrived.

Weather conditions were poor at the time and the crew encountered a big swell with white broken water and spray which was causing poor visibility. Another volunteer crew member Geraldine Patton, who was standing on the beach at the time, was able to point the lifeboat crew to the exact location.

Once on scene, both the girl and the man who had rescued her were taken onboard the lifeboat and assessed by the crew before being brought back to the lifeboat station and further checked by ambulance paramedics. Both were cold but otherwise safe and well.

Speaking following the call out, Captain Tony McGowan, Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘This was a frightening experience for the family, and we want to wish them well following their ordeal on Saturday. The man who responded with the lifebuoy had safety in mind first which was crucial in keeping both the girl and him safe until our lifeboat arrived. He deserves great credit for his bravery and determination. Great credit is also due to the large number of our volunteer crew who arrived at the station so promptly as time is always of the essence in situations like these.

‘Rip currents can be difficult to spot and can be notoriously dangerous. They are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea’s surface.

Even the most experienced beachgoers and swimmers can be caught out by rips and our advice if you do get caught in a rip, is don’t try to swim against it or you will get exhausted. If you can stand, wade and don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore. Always raise your hand and shout for help. If you see someone who you think might be in trouble, don't delay, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

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RNLI lifesavers from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour to feature in new series of TV documentary Saving Lives at Sea

The volunteer lifeboat crews of Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour RNLI will be taking to the small screen on Tuesday 12 October as they feature in the eighth episode of the BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea.

Real-life rescue footage gives a frontline view of how the charity’s lifesavers risk their own lives as they go to the aid of those in danger at sea and strive to save everyone.

Now in its sixth series, the 10-part documentary showcases the lifesaving work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK. The series is on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8 pm as well as being available on BBC iPlayer following broadcast.

Real rescue footage is accompanied by emotive interviews from the volunteer lifeboat crews alongside the people they rescue and their families.

This forthcoming episode, on Tuesday 12 October, sees Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour RNLI, along with Rescue 117, conduct a joint rescue operation off the Wexford coast. As Afloat reported at the time, The Lily B, a 100m general cargo vessel with nine crew onboard and carrying 4,000 tonnes of coal, lost all power two nautical miles from Hook Head last October. Conditions on scene were Force 8 with severe Force 9 gusts and wave heights between eight and 10 metres. The Lily B was drifting and in danger of striking rocks on Hook Head or capsizing in the heavy seas.

The 12-hour service in challenging conditions saw multiple attempts by the lifeboat crews involved to establish a tow between the casualty vessel and the lifeboats. With the crew of the Lily B unable to stay on deck for long in the poor conditions and with language difficulties, two of the lifeboats were eventually successful in passing a rope on deck by using a rocket line and pulling the cargo vessel clear of the rocks. The lifeboat tow was maintained for three hours with waves continually crashing over the decks until the tug vessel Tramontine from Waterford Port arrived on scene and took up the tow. The three lifeboats stayed with the Lily B until they reached the safety of the Waterford Estuary. The rescue operation was finally stood down after 12 hours at sea for the lifeboat crews.

The three lifeboat crews involved are now to receive gallantry awards from the RNLI for their role in the rescue.

Neville Murphy, one of the Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat crew members featured in the forthcoming episode, said: ‘It's great that we can showcase the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteers in a TV programme like this. Without the generous support and donations from the public, we wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea and it’s great to be able to share what we do with our supporters from the comfort of their own home’

During 2020, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 945 times with their volunteer crews coming to the aid of 1,147 people, 13 of whom were lives saved.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI thanked two young fundraisers when they were presented with a cheque for €150 this week.

Abi Ferguson and Niamh O’Reilly presented the volunteers at the north Co Dublin lifeboat station with the generous donation before GAA training on Thursday evening (30 September).

The two girls raised the money by holding a cake sale outside Abi’s house last month. The actual total was even higher as they raised €175.

Both girls love their GAA so to thank them for their support, Abi’s father Philip — who is a long-standing member of the crew in Skerries — organised for Dublin GAA legend and RNLI ambassador Lyndsey Davey to meet the girls and help them present the cheque.

Skerries lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s still a very difficult environment for fundraising at the minute so it’s an incredible achievement by two youngsters. They are two future fundraising superstars.

“We’d also like to say a huge thank you to Lyndsey for giving up her time. She was fantastic with the girls who were a little starstruck at first but were soon bombarding her with questions.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out on Friday evening at 5.45 pm, to go to the immediate aid of a lone Kayaker that was spotted in trouble off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The Courtmacsherry All Weather Lifeboat, Frederick Storey Cockburn under Coxswain Mark John Gannon and a crew of 6 were away quickly from their moorings, when Valentia Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre bleeped for immediate action after golfers on the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Links saw a person in trouble near the rocks on the western side of the Lighthouse.

The Kayaker had left The Speckled Door pier earlier in the afternoon and came through the passage at Hole-Open and was attempting to round the Lighthouse when the weather worsened and he was thrown off the Kayak and was unable to remount because of high swells. Thankfully the Golfers immediately called the rescue services and the Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat and its voluntary crew were away within minutes. Reaching the area at 6.14 pm, two members of the crew, Ken Cashman and Donal Young used the Lifeboat’s small inflatable boat to traverse into the rocky inlet under the Lighthouse and pluck the causality from the water and brought him back to the main Lifeboat where he was assessed and warmed up after a very frightening ordeal.

Unfortunately, the Kayak could not be recovered and all his belongings including his mobile phone and keys were left to the mercy of the sea. The conditions at sea yesterday evening were 4 metre swells and a strong westerly wind.

The causality was then brought by the Lifeboat to the safe surrounds of the Courtmacsherry Pontoon and he was mighty glad to be on safe lands again. Crew and Station officers assessed him further at the Station House and provided him with a change of clothes and hot drinks before Station officers were able to take him back to meet his friends who came from North Cork to meet him. Also tasked in today’s Callout was the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter from Waterford and the Old Head / Seven Heads Coast Guard unit.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said “We are all so relieved that the Kayaker was rescued so quickly in rough seas off the Old Head this evening and praised the Golfers on the Old Head for making that quick 999 call when they realised something was amiss”, he also thanked the voluntary crew at the Lifeboat Station who quickly assembled and with great skill that they regularly train for, prevented a very serious incident at sea.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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My name is Kevin Scott (58) from Newton Mearns, Glasgow. Married, two children. Lockdown for me provided the ideal opportunity to fulfil one of my earliest retirement goals. And that was to complete my journey around the Scottish mainland, once again, this time documenting and capturing tales and local histories of all of its 340 harbourages.

These were gathered with the omission of all islands and towns and villages sitting upstream from the mouths of the rivers Clyde, Forth, Tay and Dee. Intended as one book to cover all, it has resulted in four (400 page-full colour) books entitled 'Harbouring-My Desire'. Parts 1-4, which covers, anti-clockwise, the journey from Burnmouth, in Scotland's south-east corner on the border, around to the Dumfriesshire town of Annan in the south-west.

This was done, with all monies raised going directly to the RNLI charity who do and have done this year especially, a tremendous role in safeguarding our shores, all on a voluntary basis. 'Staycations' have resulted in many more callouts or 'shouts' than ever previously recorded. Just watch the enthralling BBC series 'Saving Lives at Sea' for just a few examples.

Originally from the Scottish Borders, I inherited my love of both the sea and its vast coastline from my grandfather when, from a young age, I would be regularly found out 'helping' in salmon cobles netting at the mouth of the River Tweed. Add into that the boyhood fascination of watching Eyemouth's thrilling fish-market live auction, and I was, well, hooked, you might say.

The books document tales and local histories of all of Scotland's  340 harbouragesThe books document tales and local histories of Scotland's 340 harbourages

That respect for the sea has only grown over the years and having listened to fishermen, harbourmasters and the like, right around our coastline, this past two years, my admiration for those dependent on making a living from it has only deepened. Whether sea fishing off Tarbert in the West to lobster fishing in the East, I have enjoyed every minute of my travel experiences. Local historians and 'worthies' alike have kindly imparted their local knowledge of their villages and harbours, adding much colour and background to each individual locale. Their passion and pride, I have tried to do justice to, as I reflect on each of their journeys to this point in time.

As we know, Picts, Christians, Romans, Vikings, the English and the 'Clearances' to name but a few have all left some indelible marks on our country, even if it be now only in their placenames. I have added in both the geography and social history, as well anything of historical or architectural significance, but also have various chapters on the evolution of the fishing industry, local seafood recipes, as well as a substantial glossary of every local heritage and tourist, recommended places to visit, for any inquisitive traveller.

These four books are now available on the Lulu Bookstore website, with all proceeds are donated to the RNLI.

My intention is to take these 4 books around the country next year, Covid permitting, in the name of the RNLI to as many local events as possible on our shores, having bought myself a small camper van specifically for this purpose.

Published in Scottish Waters
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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

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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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