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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew responded to a call for assistance to two fishermen in a lake boat who got into difficulties on the River Shannon in Athlone yesterday afternoon (Saturday 18 March). 

Responding to a request from the Irish Coast Guard, following an alarm raised by a member of the public, Lough Ree RNLI was tasked to assist two men on board a 19ft lake boat which was taking on water south of the Weir Wall on the River Shannon in Athlone town. 

Lough Ree RNLI inland lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ under volunteer helm Liam Sheringham, launched at 5.20 pm and reached the fishing boat in fifteen minutes. Following a rapid survey of the scene the lifeboat drew alongside the stricken fishing boat and volunteer crew Patrick Walsh, Paul Kelly and Billy Henshaw Jnr were rescued the two young men and took them on board the lifeboat. The two men were then transferred to the care of emergency services on the riverbank, and neither man suffered any ill effects from the ordeal.

Lough Ree RNLI volunteer helm Liam Sheringham thanked An Garda Siochana for their assistance in the rescue and reminded the general public that ‘the circular motion created in the water over the Weir Wall, especially when the river is in spate or flood creates a very difficult and dangerous environment for people and craft in the vicinity.’

Earlier on Saturday, Lough Ree RNLI had joined with Athlone Sub Aqua Club and Athlone River Safety Awareness just upstream of the weir wall to demonstrate emergency response procedures to the public.

This was the second call out of the year for Lough Ree RNLI; earlier this month (Friday, 3 March) the charity assisted two people on board a lake cruiser which had run aground after losing steerage near the N6 motorway bridge.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Forty people were rescued after a passenger vessel ran aground in Lough Derg on Saturday afternoon (18 March).

Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was dispatched to the scene where the 40ft passenger vessel was aground on a rocky shoal off Bonaveen Point. Killaloe Coast Guard were also called out to the incident.

Using local knowledge and electronic navigation tools on board, the lifeboat navigated around two shallow shoals to make a safe approach to the stern of the casualty vessel.

It was confirmed that the passenger boat was not taking on any water but there was a significant hazard on its starboard side.

All 40 people on board were confirmed to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

Given the number of casualties on board, the location and the weather conditions on the lake — with northwesterly Force 4-5 winds gusting Force 6 — the RNLI lifeboat helm decided to take the vessel off the shoal and asled Killaoe Coast Guard to come alongside and take six passengers off to lighten its load.

With the casualty vessel towed off the rocky shoal, the lifeboat crew advised it to centre its rudder and make any adjustments necessary to follow directly behind the lifeboat.

The passenger vessel had no apparent damage to its engine or props and was able to make way under its own power as it was escorted to the safety of Castle Harbour at Portumna.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI commended both Lough Derg RNLI and Killaloe Coast Guard “for their swift response and excellent teamwork in effecting a challenging rescue in testing conditions”.

Published in Rescue
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Paddy Conaghan worked in tunnels in Thailand, Hong Kong, Denmark, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and every place from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

But he says his greatest achievement was driving and ducking 515 times at beaches clockwise around Ireland as he celebrated his 82nd birthday.

Paddy set off on his latest quest on 4 December, having previously faced the challenge of diving off as many piers as possible anti-clockwise around Ireland.

His first challenge raised over €100,000 for local counselling service Gemma’s Legacy of Hope. And his chosen charities this time include one close to his heart: the RNLI.

“I chose the RNLI because I am very familiar with the work they do in saving lives at sea,” Paddy said. “We have a lifeboat on Arranmore since 1883 that has saved many lives and I thought the RNLI would be a safe bet if I got into bother in my ventures around the coast. They also rely on fundraising by the public so I hope I can raise some money for them.”

Paddy was supported at every swim by people who turned out to swim with him, supplied him with food, towels and the odd bottle of whiskey to stave off the cold.

Owners of the Arranmore Blue Ferry, Seamus and Louise Boyle supplied him with a van and kitted it out with bedding and cooking appliances and Paddy chose to stay full-time in the van despite many offers of bed and breakfast. Paddy felt it added to the challenge to stay in the van, enduring temperatures of -2 degrees.

Prior to completing his final swim at Maghery beach in Donegal, Paddy was thinking of how this venture might end and came up with the idea of leaving his final swim for somebody else to start a similar challenge.

In Paddy’s own words: “I would really like somebody else to continue this challenge on a yearly basis, always leaving Maghery beach for the next challenger. I am so glad to have completed the circuit twice, it gave me a great sense of satisfaction to do something for the various charities, I wasn’t doing much else with my life.”

Nora Flanagan, Arranmore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer spoke to Paddy on arrival back in Arranmore last Sunday 13 March and said: “Paddy is the most unassuming, modest man I have the pleasure to know.

“I asked him about his World Open Water Swimming Awards Man of the Year award, an award which celebrates individuals and offerings that embody the spirit of open-water swimming and have positively impacted the community, showcasing their determination, fortitude, sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance, and he said he didn’t think he deserved it because many people swim in the sea. Yes they do, but not many would dive into the sea several times a day around Ireland in the middle of winter to raise funds for charity.

“The RNLI is a charitable institution which relies on people like Paddy to help keep the lifeboats afloat. Many people volunteer with the RNLI as crew, fundraisers and shore crew and together our one aim is to support the lifeboats to continue saving lives.

“I asked Paddy what he’s going to do now with time on his hands and all he said was, ‘I’m thinking’ and I have no doubt that he is.”

If you wish to donate to Paddy’s charities, visit his iDonate page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Courtmacsherry All Weather RNLI Lifeboat “Frederick Storey Cockburn” was called out at 1.30 pm on Friday “St Patricks Day”, to aid a large 70 ft fishing vessel that sought assistance 50 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.  

The Lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of five proceeded to the area in rough conditions at sea.

The Lifeboat reached the causality at 4.30 pm and helped the stricken vessel.  Thankfully a short time later, the Fishing vessel and crew were able to get underway again, and the Lifeboat crew stood by for some time until the causality gave the all clear, and the Lifeboat was able to return to base in Courtmacsherry, arriving back to the village pontoon at 8 pm. 

The callout happened today as the Station was preparing for the annual St. Patricks Day Parade in the Village, where the Lifeboat always heads up the sea and land parade.

As the Trent Class Lifeboat went on callout today, in its last three weeks of active service in Courtmacsherry, our new Shannon Class Lifeboat, “Val Adnams,” led the parade under Coxswain Peter Noonan and crew. After 27 years of excellent service in Courtmacsherry, the “Frederick Story Cockburn” was refuelled this evening. It is back on its mooring tonight, ready for further assistance in its final weeks in the village.

Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew and station personnel who took part in the St Patricks Day parades in Courtmacsherry and Clonakilty

Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew and station personnel who took part in the St Patricks Day parades in Courtmacsherry and Clonakilty

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said, “ It was great to be of assistance today on our special National Holiday to go to the aid of the fishing vessel in distress and thanked all the crew who gave up their festive time today to help others who were in danger on the high seas”.

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Crew involved in today’s seven-hour callout were Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Stuart Russell and crewmembers Ken Cashman, Kevin Young, Dean Hennessy and Austin McKenna

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.35am on St Patrick’s Day (Friday 17 March) following a report of a swimmer in difficulty off Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill.

The inshore lifeboat was quickly launched and proceeded immediately to the scene. The Galway Fire Service was also tasked and they assisted the swimmer ashore.

Weather conditions were good with a Force 3 southerly breeze.

Paul Carey, Galway RNLI deputy launching authority who was on scene at Salthill said: “A great outcome in this case. Two people were swimming together and one of them appeared to get disorientated. Thankfully the alarm was raised quickly.

“Always remember if you see somebody in difficulty dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. Always respect the water.”

The volunteer lifeboat crew on board the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat were helm Brian Niland, Dave Oliver, James Rattigan and Ian Claxton supported by shore crew Shane Austin, Dave McGrath and Mike Cummins.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Ahead of St Patrick’s Day festivities around Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint water safety appeal, asking people to stay safe when in, near or on the water.

The organisations are also urging the public to stay away from waterways if consuming alcohol. There are an average of nine drownings in Ireland every month and alcohol is a contributory factor in one third.

A lifejacket that has a correctly fitting crotch strap should always be worn on water and when angling from shore. If engaging in any boating activity it is essential to have a means of communication such as VHF radio or personal locator beacon with a mobile phone as a backup.

Water temperatures are still cold, meaning cold water shock and hypothermia are risks that can affect everyone. To avoid this while swimming, people should acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the cold and warm up quickly upon exiting the water.

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland advise everyone intending to take part in any water-based activity or coastal walks to make sure they check in advance what they should do to keep safe.

If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

  • Never mix alcohol with water activities
  • Always check the weather and tides
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm (VHF radio or personal locator beacon, with a fully charged mobile phone as backup)
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Wear a suitable personal flotation device when boating or angling
  • Watch out for incoming tides to avoid getting cut off

If you are swimming:

  • Water temperatures are still cold at this time of the year; consider wearing a wetsuit to stay warm
  • Acclimatise slowly
  • Wear a bright swimming cap and consider a tow float to increase your visibility
  • Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague

Irish Coast Guard operations manager Micheal O’Toole says: “St Patrick’s weekend is a traditional start to the holiday season and with extended daylight people will be keen to get out and about. Always carry a means of communication. If engaging in coastal walks, only use routes with which you are familiar or routes that are well marked and in regular use. Be attentive to erosion or changes that may have occurred over the winter period.“”

RNLI head of region Anna Classon adds: “As the evenings get longer, the water temperature is at its coldest at this time of year. Cold water shock is still a risk and we ask people to take care when entering and exiting the water. Acclimatise slowly and never swim alone.”

Water Safety Ireland’s deputy chief executive Roger Sweeney cautions that people should stay away from water if consuming alcohol.

“At this time of year many people will enjoy family trips to waterways nationwide. However, it is important people remember to supervise children closely and not to drink alcohol when supervising children near water,” he says. “Alcohol is a contributory factor in over 30% of drowning incidents and an individual’s judgement and reaction times can be significantly impaired.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 999 or 112 or use VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Water Safety

Both Clifden lifeboats were launched on Monday morning (13 March) to conduct a search after an EPIRB distress signal was detected by Malin Head Coast Guard in the area around Letterfrack in Co Galway.

An EPIRB, or emergency position indicating radio beacon, is a device to alert search and rescue services in case of an emergency out at sea.

Deputy launching authority Saul Joyce launched Clifden RNLI’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat St Christopher under the command of coxswain Alan Pryce with mechanic Joe Acton, navigator Dan Whelan and crew of Andy Bell, Chris Nee and John Heffernan.

The all-weather lifeboat made best speed to the search area of Mullaghloss on the Renvyle peninsula. While that boat was en route and with more information becoming available, Clifden RNLI’s Atlantic 85 was launched with Thomas Davis at the helm and crew of Kevin Ryan and Shane Conneely.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was also tasked to search along with Cleggan Coast Guard units.

An extensive search was carried out of the reported areas by all assets with a large portion of the north Connemara coast searched. With all involved satisfied that there was no vessel in distress in the area, the coastguard stood down all assets and the volunteer crews returned to station.

Clifden RNLI coxswain Alan Pryce said Monday’s call “demonstrates how a well coordinated multi-agency search can cover a very large area thoroughly and efficiently.

“Thankfully there was no vessel in distress on this occasion but we remain ready to respond every time the pager goes.”

Speaking about EPIRBs, Pryce added: “Emergency beacons are a lifesaving piece of equipment, I would encourage any boat owners to check the service status and registration details of any beacons on board. If you don’t have an EPIRB you should consider getting one because they will help search and rescue services to pinpoint the location of a vessel in distress.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

RNLI lifeboats from Wicklow and Arklow were involved in a multi-agency search for a missing surfer at Magheramore beach on Friday morning (10 March).

Wicklow RNLI and Arklow RNLI were tasked to search for a missing surfer south of Wicklow Head near Magheramore beach. Wicklow RNLI volunteers were tasked just after 8 am under the command of Coxswain Nicky Keogh, while Arklow RNLI volunteers were tasked a short time later by the Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC)

A thorough search was performed at sea by both lifeboats. While on land, a thorough search was conducted by the Wicklow/Greystones Coast guard unit. Conditions on scene were described as wind coming from the northeast with moderate to rough seas. Also on scene was the Dublin-based Coast guard helicopter Rescue 116.

Once the Coast guard (MRCC) was satisfied that all surfers were accounted for onshore the search was stood down, and both lifeboats returned to station.

Speaking after the callout Deputy Press Officer Connie O’Gara said, “this search followed on from the joint exercise performed by Wicklow RNLI & Arklow RNLI just over a week ago. These joint exercises are vital to ensure a co-ordinated response during a callout such as this.”

Speaking after the callout, Wicklow RNLI Coxswain Nicky Keogh said, “The conditions at the scene were challenging, but assistance from the air by Rescue 116 was invaluable.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI in Co Wexford is in search of new people to join its volunteer team in a variety of lifesaving roles.

The station will host an open day over St Patrick’s weekend from 11am-1pm next Saturday morning (18 March) and want anyone who has an interest in volunteering to come along and find out more.

The station is particularly keen to recruit new volunteer lifeboat shore crew and enhance its fundraising crew.

Patrick O’Regan has been a crew member for four years, having joined in 2019. He says it was his desire to help in the community and give back that encouraged him to get involved.

“I had always wanted to help out in my local community,” he says, “and to make a difference. The sea and the dangers associated with it have always fascinated me. Joining the RNLI gave me the opportunity to help save lives at sea.“”

All crew members on joining receive full competency based training. “I have found training to be invaluable,” Patrick adds, “and an exciting way to learn new skills such as first aid and boat handling in an environment where questions are welcomed and encouraged to ensure we have a highly competent crew who are prepared for every eventuality.“”

As for what he derives most satisfaction from, Patrick says: “The most rewarding part of being a volunteer with the RNLI is making a measurable difference to the charity’s purpose of saving lives at sea while also expanding my knowledge of the sea and learning essential skills.”

Fethard RNLI crew member Patrick O’Regan has been a volunteer for four years | Credit: RNLI/FethardFethard RNLI crew member Patrick O’Regan has been a volunteer for four years | Credit: RNLI/Fethard

The roles you can apply for are varied, as Eileen Murphy found when she joined almost 17 years ago and soon became a driver.

“My great grandfather was Patrick Cullen who lost his life on the Helen Blake,” Eileen says. “My mother was very involved in the upkeep of the monument, and it was important to keep the connection with the lifeboat.

“I joined to help in whatever way I could and became a driver on the station Land Rover that brings our D class lifeboat to its launching point once the pagers go off and the crew are kitted up.”

Eileen has also found the learning over the years to be invaluable: “The training has been fantastic. I have done off-road driving, radio and casualty care courses. I would never have got to do any of that except for the RNLI.”

As for what Eileen finds most rewarding, she says: “You feel you are contributing to a very good cause which is important to me. I have learned new skills and the sense of satisfaction you feel is great. You also make new friends.”

Walter Foley, Fethard RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager said the team is looking forward to welcoming anyone who is interested in finding out more to the open day.

“Volunteering with us gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their local community, to save lives and become part of the larger RNLI family,” he says. “We can’t keep people safe without the support of our wonderful volunteers, who truly make a difference every day no matter which role they are fulfilling.

“We’re looking for enthusiastic people to come along on Saturday morning and see what is involved and learn how they can play their part. The RNLI provides first-class training and equipment, guidance and support to all volunteers, from lifeboat crew to shore crew to fundraising crew.

“So, no matter the time or the skill you can offer, it is our hope that this can be the beginning of something exciting for new volunteers as it was for Patrick and Eileen some years ago while also allowing Fethard RNLI to continue its great work in saving lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A Sligo Bay RNLI helm has been celebrated as a finalist for the inaugural Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Award, hosted by the Irish Paramedicine Education and Research Network (IPERN).

Eithne Davis was nominated for the award by her lifeboat station team and, having been selected as a finalist, she attended a special ceremony at the University of Limerick on Wednesday (8 March) to mark International Women’s Day.

Five finalists were shortlisted by the IPERN Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Special Interest Group to award and recognise an inspirational female colleague working in the Irish pre-hospital community.

Frances Griffin of the National Ambulance Service picked up the award, which pays tribute to Captain Dara Fitzpatrick’s powerful legacy. Eithne was among the five finalists selected for embodying Dara’s values of compassion and kindness, strength and bravery, leadership and teamwork, and professionalism.

In submitting Eithne’s nomination, Sligo Bay RNLI said the station had a proud history of a strong representation of female crew.

“Eithne joined Sligo Bay RNLI at its inception in April 1998 and has been a steadfast member of the team since,” it said. “Her volunteering role with the RNLI spanned her life stages of rearing a young family, through various jobs and roles, to this year completing her doctorate in environmental studies. Over the past 25 years in all circumstances, she has carried her RNLI pager and been on call ready to launch to those in need of help at sea.

“She has been an outstanding member of the crew, was appointed our first female Helm in 1999, is a seagoing casualty carer and most recently was appointed as the station’s first local trainer and assessor. Of significance also is the fact that she was the first ever RNLI-retained inshore lifeboat mechanic in the fleet.

“In her 25 years, she has launched on service 164 times, involving 169 hours at sea, trained at sea for over 396 hours, and has been directly involved in the saving of nine lives, not to mention the other 131 people she has assisted, many requiring casualty care.

“Launching in an open lifeboat always requires bravery, but Eithne would not consider herself as anyone special. In one incident in very rough weather, when responding to a surfer in difficulty, the lifeboat slammed hard off a large wave and Eithne was injured.

“She pressed on with the callout towards the casualty only to stand down on notification that the person had gotten ashore safely. Eithne took a couple of weeks off to recover and then was back on the lifeboat as eager as always. If queried, her self-effacing attitude would likely be, ‘Sure it’s what we do, isn’t it?’”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual offshore yacht racing event with an increasingly international exposure attracting super maxi yachts and entries from around tne world. It is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).

The 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts in Sydney Harbour at 1pm (AEDT) on Monday 26 December.

This is the 77th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The inaugural race was conducted in 1945 and has run every year since, apart from 2020, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

88 boats started the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart, with 50 finishing.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - FAQs

The number of Sydney Hobart Yacht Races held by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 1945 is 75

6,257 completed the Sydney Hobart Yacht race, 1036 retired or were disqualified)

About 60,061 sailors have competed in the Sydney Hobart Race between 1945 and 2019

Largest fleets: 371 starters in the 50th race in 1994 (309 finished); 154 starters in 1987 (146 finished); 179 starters in 1985 (145 finished); 151 starters in 1984 (46 finished); 173 started in 1983 (128 finished); 159 started in 1981 (143 finished); 147 started in 1979 (142 finished); 157 started in 2019 (154 finished)

116 in 2004 (59 finished); 117 in 2014 (103 finished); 157 in 2019 (154 finished)

Nine starters in the inaugural Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1945

In 2015 and 2017 there were 27, including the 12 Clipper yachts (11 in 2017). In the record entry of 371 yachts in the 50th in 1994, there were 24 internationals

Rani, Captain John Illingworth RN (UK). Design: Barber 35’ cutter. Line and handicap winner

157 starters, 154 finishers (3 retirements)

IRC Overall: Ichi Ban, a TP52 owned by Matt Allen, NSW. Last year’s line honours winner: Comanche, Verdier Yacht Design and VPLP (FRA) owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, in 1 day 18 hours, 30 minutes, 24 seconds. Just 1hour 58min 32secs separated the five super maxis at the finish 

1 day 9 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds, set in 2017 by LDV Comanche after Wild Oats XI was penalised one hour in port/starboard incident for a finish time of 1d 9h 48m 50s

The oldest ever sailor was Syd Fischer (88 years, 2015).

As a baby, Raud O'Brien did his first of some six Sydney Hobarts on his parent's Wraith of Odin (sic). As a veteran at three, Raud broke his arm when he fell off the companionway steps whilst feeding biscuits to the crew on watch Sophie Tasker sailed the 1978 race as a four-year-old on her father’s yacht Siska, which was not an official starter due to not meeting requirements of the CYCA. Sophie raced to Hobart in 1979, 1982 and 1983.

Quite a number of teenage boys and girls have sailed with their fathers and mothers, including Tasmanian Ken Gourlay’s 14-year-old son who sailed on Kismet in 1957. A 12-year-old boy, Travis Foley, sailed in the fatal 1998 race aboard Aspect Computing, which won PHS overall.

In 1978, the Brooker family sailed aboard their yacht Touchwood – parents Doug and Val and their children, Peter (13), Jacqueline (10), Kathryne (8) and Donald (6). Since 1999, the CYCA has set an age limit of 18 for competitors

Jane (‘Jenny’) Tate, from Hobart, sailed with her husband Horrie aboard Active in the 1946 Race, as did Dagmar O’Brien with her husband, Dr Brian (‘Mick’) O’Brien aboard Connella. Unfortunately, Connella was forced to retire in Bass Strait, but Active made it to the finish. The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy is presented each year to the first female skipper to finish the race

In 2019, Bill Barry-Cotter brought Katwinchar, built in 1904, back to the start line. She had competed with a previous owner in 1951. It is believed she is the oldest yacht to compete. According to CYCA life member and historian Alan Campbell, more than 31 yachts built before 1938 have competed in the race, including line honours winners Morna/Kurrewa IV (the same boat, renamed) and Astor, which were built in the 1920s.

Bruce Farr/Farr Yacht Design (NZL/USA) – can claim 20 overall wins from 1976 (with Piccolo) up to and including 2015 (with Balance)

Screw Loose (1979) – LOA 9.2m (30ft); Zeus II (1981) LOA 9.2m

TKlinger, NSW (1978) – LOA 8.23m (27ft)

Wild Oats XI (2012) – LOA 30.48m (100ft). Wild Oats XI had previously held the record in 2005 when she was 30m (98ft)

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