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It takes between 60 and 70 dedicated special voluntary workers to keep a multi-functional organisation like Howth Yacht Club running smoothly with a friendly atmosphere around the place writes W M Nixon.

That number is in addition to the elected officers and committee with its sub-committees, plus the professional staff. The figure was reached when incoming Commodore Joe McPeake set in train a project to ensure that the key posts are filled, and to let the many voluntary workers who are the lifeblood of the club know that their efforts are appreciated.

As part of this, last night (Thursday) the Commodore hosted a very informal Volunteers’ Evening when the different sub-committees and task forces were able to set up their stalls – or more accurately, their tables - and see what they could do in the way of recruiting new blood from amongst the people gently milling past, people keen to help and get more deeply involved with a club that means a lot to them, but are not quite sure how to start going about it.

In some ways it was reminiscent of a very low key Freshers’ Week event at college. But we hasten to emphasise the “low key”. The ideal volunteer is not flamboyant. On the contrary, they’re quiet folk with hidden capabilities which can be revealed over time, people who, when they commit to something, really mean it - they can be relied on to make a useful input when contacted, they will get on with the job without fuss, and often it’s found that they’ve also been quietly getting on with some other personal project which will be of real benefit to the club and their fellow members.

In fact, the atmosphere last night was so pleasant it was suggested they should hold a Volunteers’ Night every week……But already the standards have been set very high. HYC’s main Committee Boat Star Point is not exactly the most elegant vessel afloat. However, longtime Committee Boat crewman John Doran and a small task force found this specialist sports fishing platform competitively for sale in Wales a couple of years ago, and identified her as a vessel which would, with manageable modifications, be ideal as a Committee Boat.

Such has indeed proven to be the case. But Star Point is a soncey big beast. She’s at the limit for what can be lifted in one of Howth YC’s own cranes. So when a major refit was planned at mid-winter between the two halves of the long-running HYC Brass Monkey series (it’s celebrating its 30th birthday), Star Point had to go to the boatyard at Malahide, and the professional refit quotes were scary.

Nothing daunted, former HYC Commodore and leading race officer Derek Bothwell already had a voluntary work party being recruited, and as much as possible of the work – a very impressive part of it, actually – was done entirely by voluntary effort during the coldest week of the year, “when the boat seemed to get bigger by the minute”.

Although one of the good points about Star Point when she was bought was the fact that she was already Copper-Coated beneath the waterline, even that very effective longterm anti-fouling will accumulate grunge over many years, and cleaning it off was brutal work. But when the spick and span re-born Star Point was brought back to Howth a week ago, John Doran was able to report that with the new clean bottom and a good blow-out for the engines, he could get her up to 17.5 knots where previously the best speed was a measly 12 knots.

howth yacht club volunteersA pleasant low-key atmosphere. Would-be voluntary workers and experienced old hands mingling together at last night’s Voluntary Gathering in Howth YC. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club is hosting a 'Volunteer Night' on Thursday (26th January). The north Dublin club, one of the biggest sailing clubs in the country, is seeking support from members and asking them to consider helping with a variety of tasks including upkeep of the J80 keelboat fleet. The volunteer night will feature roles in HYC's Autumn League, Lambay Regatta, Junior Sailing, Communications and Membership offices.

HYC is also hoping to find crane drivers, launch drivers plus a range of communications officers to help with content writing and photography for the club website. The club also hopes to find an archivist for its 125th Anniversary.

Published in Howth YC
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#HYC - Howth Yacht Club is recruiting for the role of Sailing Development Officer.

The successful applicant will help create and implement a programme that will increase participation in sailing and other marine activities, devise marketing initiatives to promote/fund the sport of sailing, and increase club membership.

The skills required for this role include a passion for sport and an ability to devise and implement programmes to specific objectives which will be set by the successful applicant in conjunction with the club co-ordinator.

Applicants must have a proven ability to plan and successfully implement such programmes, and previous involvement in this type of role would be a positive attribute.

It should be noted that the club already provides sailing courses for all ages, including a world-class youth performance programme, all of which will be reviewed and enhanced.

The club also wishes to target new activities and markets, including large corporate organisations that wish to be linked with a facility that can provide an attractive and enjoyable lifestyle for their employees.

Applicants should have the skills to be innovative and self-motivated to achieve the set objectives, and should also have strong communicative and IT skills.

The Sailing Development Officer will report to the Commodore of Howth Yacht Club or another nominated officer. It would be expected that the successful applicant will report on a defined basis every two weeks to the nominated officer. Renumeration will be negotiated with the successful applicant and will be performance-related.

Applications should be sent by email to [email protected] or by post to:

The Commodore,
Howth Yacht Club CLG,
Middle Pier,
Howth Harbour,
Howth,
Dublin D13 E6V3

Published in Jobs
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Talented Howth Yacht Club sailor Ewan McMahon received his club's top award at an Achievers Ceremong in the North Dublin Club last weekend. McMahon (17) won silver at the KBC Laser Radial Youth World Championships in Dun Laoghaire, in a fine display of consistent sailing across the wind range on Dublin Bay.

Read more about his performance in today's Irish Times Sailing Column here and from Howth Yacht Club here.

 

Published in Howth YC
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The 121-year-old Howth Yacht Club, which has one of the largest yacht or sailing club memberships in the country, saw Joe McPeake succeed Berchmans Gannon unopposed as Commodore at a very well-attended Annual General Meeting in the club on Thursday December 8th writes W M Nixon.

What may well be a record AGM turnout of 275 voting members gave strong support to the new management team, which retains former officers Emmet Dalton as Vice Commodore, Ian Byrne and Jonathan Wormald as Rear Commodores, and Bernadette Condy as Honorary Secretary, while the new Honorary Treasurer is David Mulligan. He is an experienced financial administrator while also being a sailor’s sailor who actively campaigned a classic Howth 17 and then an Etchells 22, following which he has been a stalwart as an owner-skipper in the white-sail cruiser class.

New Commodore Joe McPeake – who was formerly Rear Commodore – is a lawyer and property developer who has been an HYC member for 26 years, and is a boat owner who has recently concentrated on cruising under both power and sail, his ventures including reaching the Arctic Circle along the Norwegian coast in a Contest ketch. But he has also raced locally, and in national regatta weeks, as well as racing round Ireland.

A strong committee moves into place combining much new talent with many experienced long time voluntary workers for sailing and HYC. While - like many clubs - Howth has gone through difficulties during the lean years, the meeting concluded in an optimistic mood, as the good news included the fact that a much-needed roof replacement project has come in on time and within budget.

HOWTH YACHT CLUB J80Some of the record fleet in the current Brass Monkeys series at Howth competing their final race of the first half on Sunday, with an HYC-owned J/80 foreground .

As though to emphasise the spirit of can-do optimism which became the HYC mood around mid-meeting, next day saw the annual and decidedly convivial charity lunch organized by top offshore skipper Dave Cullen. It featured a presentation by Marcus Hutchinson (originally of Howth) about the Vendee Globe and Enda O’Coineen’s participation in it, including a live interview with the gallant man himself deep into the Southern Ocean, while the event raised €27,000 for Children’s Liver Disease Research.

Then next day the annual HYC Brass Monkeys Winter League – now approaching its 30th year of organisation by Pat Connolly – concluded its first half with a record fleet racing including J/80s from HYC’s own training fleet.

Following that, the noted toy distributor S Claus of North Pole Enterprises came to call on Sunday (yesterday), and then this Thursday (December 15th) sees perhaps the most legendary annual event in the HYC social calendar, the Ladies Lunch organised by Martina Gannon and her team, this year in support of The Ross Nugent Foundation. Guest speaker this year is Howth’s own Susan Whelan, who is CEO of Premiership champions Leicester City Football Club. Needless to say, the event has long been a sell-out.

santa yacht reindeerComing to a club near you – the noted Toy Distributor S Claus of North Pole Enterprises has been using some novel ways of going about his business this year

Published in Howth YC
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Howth Yacht Club's Diana Kissane, Jane Butler, Clara Hynes, Tara Flood and Jennifer Andreasson were tenth overall at the Busan Cup Women's International Match Race at the weekend. As Afloat.ie reported previously it means the sole Irish competitors in the Womens International Series now lie 15th from 25 after four events out of five sailed. 

As one of the most experienced match racing skippers in the world, Australian Katie Spithill has been to every Busan Cup Women's International Match Race since the inaugural event in 2008, except for the single year she had her daughter. But not until Saturday the 29th of October 2016 did she go all the way through to winning in Korea; over previous two-time

In Korea, the waters just outside the beautiful Haeundae Beach of Korean city Busan offered the most challenging of sailing conditions, as the Busan Cup Women's International Match Race came down the wire with semi finals and final Saturday. In incredibly shifty, puffy and gusty winds, Spithill won her semi 3 - 1 over round-robin winner Claire Leroy.

Previous double World Champion and 2007 World Sailor of the Year, Claire Leroy, defeated Ostling 2 – 0 to take the petite final

Results in the Busan Cup Women's International Match Race, the 4th and penultimate event of the 2016 WIM Series are below:

1. Katie Spithill, Alessandra Angelini, Jessica Eastwell, Kate Lathouras and Stacey Jackson, AUS, 25 points
2. Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush, Mariana Lobato, Elodie Mettraux and Mary Rook, GBR, 22
3. Claire Leroy, Marie Riou, Claire Pruvot, Julie Gerecht and Morgane Gautier, FRA, 20
4. Anna Ostling, Hanna Klinga, Linnea Wennergren, Marie Berg and Annika Carlunger, SWE, 18
5. Trine Palludan, Lea Richter Vogelius, Josefine Boel Rasmussen, Laerke Ilso Norgaard and Joan Vestergaard Hansen, DEN, 16
6. Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea, Aimee Famularo, Elizabeth Shaw and Janel Zarkowsky, USA, 14
7. Pauline Courtois, Maelenn Lemaitre, Berenice Delpuech, Sophonie Affagard and Juliette Le Friec, FRA, 12
8. Caroline Sylvan, Malin Holmberg, Anna Norlander, Frida Langenius and My Karlsten Sfiris, SWE, 10
9. Renee Groeneveld, Annemieke Bes, Lobke Berkhout, Claire Blom and Marcelien de Koning, NED, 8
10. Diana Kissane, Jane Butler, Clara Hynes, Tara Flood and Jennifer Andreasson, IRL, 7
11. Milly Bennett, Alice Tarnawski, Rosie Lee, Stephanie Doyle, Carrington Brady and Tara Blanc-Ramos, AUS, 6
12. Gyeong Jin Lee, Ji A Kim, Min Ju Kim, Da Eun Yang and Da Som Park, KOR, 5

Results in the final:
Katie Spithill, AUS - Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 3 - 2

Results in the petite final:
Anna Ostling, SWE - Claire Leroy, FRA, 0 - 2

Semi final results:
Katie Spithill, AUS - Claire Leroy, FRA, 3 - 1
Anna Ostling, SWE - Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 0 - 3

Standings in the 2016 WIM Series after four events out of five (skipper, country, WIM Series points):
1. Anna Ostling, SWE, 93
2. Pauline Courtois, FRA, 60
3. Caroline Sylvan, SWE, 58
4. Stephanie Roble, USA, 54
5. Camilla Ulrikkeholm Klinkby, DEN, 54
6. Renee Groeneveld, NED, 49
7. Katie Spithill, AUS, 25
8. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 22
9. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 22
10. Marinella Laaksonen, FIN, 21
11. Claire Leroy, FRA, 20
12. Lotte Meldgaard, DEN, 18
13. Samantha Norman, NZL, 14
14. Sanna Hager, SWE, 14
15. Diana Kissane, IRL, 14
16. Alexa Bezel, SUI, 12
17. Rikst Dijkstra, NED, 12
18. Nicole Breault, USA, 10
19. Johanna Bergqvist, SWE, 10
20. Antonia Degerlund, FIN, 10
21. Elizabeth Shaw, CAN, 8
22. Susanna Kukkonen FIN, 8
23. Milly Bennett, AUS, 6
24. Gyeong Jin Lee, KOR, 5
25. Sanna Mattsson, SWE, 5

Published in Match Racing

In an event and at a time of the year that always promises to challenge the skills of keelboat sailors, the 37th consecutive year of Howth Yacht Club’s Autumn League didn’t disappoint the hundreds of competitors who entered and completed the six-week series this weekend. Losing two of the race days due to the contrasting weather conditions that are to be expected in September and October in these latitudes, only demonstrated that those who emerged as winners in the eight competing classes (and 15 divisions) could rightfully boast about having the ability to succeed in a variety of weather conditions, sea states and in a mix of ‘round the cans’ and ‘windward-leeward’ race courses.

The final day gave the competitors a light breeze of 10-12 knots from the southeast, increasing steadily over the 90 to 120 minutes that they would take to complete their last race of the series. The race management team cleverly utilised the race schedule to ensure that the event would be completed having given the competing teams 5 races, including two windward-leeward on one of the days – this despite having to cancel two race days as mentioned above.

HYC’s Commodore Berchmans Gannon praised the race management teams for their skillful work and relayed the thanks of the 600 competing sailors. He also thanked event sponsors MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz for the huge added value that they were able to bring to the event, observing how they have become an integral partner to the club and their support is greatly appreciated by the members, guests, event competitors and visitors.

The final prizegiving is always a lengthy affair and this year’s presentations were no exception with over 40 different prizes awarded, including presentations to the ‘Team Event’ winners – Howth 17 ‘Aura’, Puppeteer ‘Gold Dust’ and the Half Tonner ‘Harmony’. David Cullen’s ‘Checkmate’ won the overall event and Heineken Trophy and the trophy was presented to crew Aidan Beggan.

A special presentation was made to Howth RNLI and Rupert Jeffares by event sponsors Brendan Grace and Dean Fullston from MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz, with a cheque for €1000.

Competitors and their guests enjoyed the post event celebrations at the event dinner in HYC and in the very many local restaurants that were booked out everywhere in the village and then returned back to the club for the live entertainment and late DJ.

The other winners:

IRC 
Class 1 Storm (Pat Kelly) 

Class 2 Checkmate XV (Cullen/ Biggs)

Class 3 Alliance II (Vincent Gaffney)

Class 4 Tiger (Harris/ Hughes)

Class 5 Demelza (Steffi Ennis/ Windsor Lauden)

ECHO

Class 1 Sourfiere (Stephen O'Flaherty) 

Class 2 Kodachi (Wright/ DeNeve)

Class 3 Kahera (R Camier)

Class 4 Splashdance (Howard McMullen)

Class 5 Mary Ellen (Kevin O'Byrne)

Scratch Handicap

Puppeteers Harlequin (David Clarke/ Liam Egan) Flycatcher (Frank Dillon)

Howth 17s Isobel (Brian & Conor Turvey) Silver Moon (Susan Morgan)

Taste of Racing Leahanne McHenry

Published in Half Tonners
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Howth Yacht Club crew man Anthony Doyle reports from Conor Fogerty's Jeanneau 3600 BAM! on the second day of the Middle Sea Race Race.

'We're just through the straits of Messina at approx 1530, we have what you can only call a mixed bag of a race.

Following a very light wind start in Valletta Grand Harbour we found ourselves with plenty of time to make up after the beat to Mark 2. Then the course brought us north to the South eastern side of Sicily where BAM! started hauling and passing out the competition.

Unfortunately we snagged a very complex lobster pot off Sicily which cost us at least an hour and one of the crew had to dive down to untangle the mess.

This meant that our competitors got away on different breeze but we are now reaching towards Stromboli with the A2 up doing 10 knots and a course of 330 magnetic and hope to make up some lost time.

Hopefully this is a race of many starts, and we have had ours... The skipper and crew are in great spirits and already looking forward to the next one pot wonder Paddy Gregory will rustle up for dinner this evening.

BAM Middle sea raceConor Fogerty's BAM! crew have the wind behind them on day two of the Middle Sea Race. The Irish Jeanneau 3600 is racing in division IRC six with a full Howth Yacht Club crew including Simon Knowles, Paddy Gregory, Sam O'Byrne, Rob Slater and Anthony Doyle

As Afloat.ie reported previously, Fogerty's is racing in division IRC six with a full Howth Yacht Club crew including Simon Knowles, Paddy Gregory, Sam O'Byrne, Rob Slater and Anthony Doyle. As Afloat.ie readers will recall, the doughty Irish offshore campaigner took a class win in February's RORC Caribbean 600 race.

Fogerty arrived into the Grand Harbour in Valletta last Tuesday. In the last 12 months, Bam has been sailed from Howth to the Canaries, then did the ARC race to St Lucia, then the Caribbean 600 race in February, then Conor sailed solo to the Azores, delivery from Azores back to Howth, then the Round Ireland Yacht race in June, then to the Solent for the Fastnet solo race, then the new RORC IIe D’Ouessant Race, then the Cowes to Cherbourg race and just now a delivery from Southampton to Malta. After the Middle Sea race, the boat will be wintered ashore in Malta until next spring year when she returns home.

Organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race will start at 11:00hrs (CET) on the 22nd October in the spectacular Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta.

ISORA sailors Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive are back onboard the Maltese J122 Otra Vez skippered by owner Aaron Gatt Floridia, who has sailed in Ireland's Dun laoghaire to Dingle race. It will be Coyne's fourth Middle Sea on Otra Vez. 'This will be my seventh Middle Sea race and really feeling good about this one' Coyne told Afloat.ie. Coyne managed a class win in 2014 and has previously been sixth time overall.

Also racing is INSS sailor Kenneth Rumball as part of a Maltese crew onboard the Xp44, Xpact. Rumball previously raced on Xpact in 2014 with other Irish sailors Andy Boyle, Philip Connor and Barry Hurley to second overall and first in class three onboard this X-Yacht. Hurley is back on board this year and joining them is Shane Divney of Howth Yacht Club coming back from GC32 Circuit. Laura Dillon of HYC is on Winsome. Dublin's Conor Kinsella, a co-skipper on Lynx in this year's Round Ireland, is sailing on Xpedite.

London–based Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor Niall Dowling is listed on the crew of Pata Negra, the Lombard 46 skippered by Giles Redpath

Published in Offshore

Following the cancellation of two days racing in mid-series due to adverse weather, this year's MSL Park Motors Mercedes-Benz Autumn League competitors enjoyed two races this Saturday, affording the competing teams a real opportunity to challenge the leaders in all 8 classes. Aided by an ever-increasing wind forecast, the race management teams chose to run two windward-leeward courses for both inshore and offshore fleets. Multiple windward-leeward race starts are always a risky undertaking, but the HYC teams used their considerable experience to manage two races for each fleet within the time limit.

Having now completed 4 races, a discard now applies and allows competitors to accumulate their best 3 results before including next Saturday's last race of the six week series. The limited time to complete this week's two races made for very close and exciting racing with short legs and very busy mark-roundings. Boat handling was crucial as only seconds separated many of the classes in each race.

It was business as usual on the 'Offshore' course, with Pat Kelly's Storm winning the first race but their DNC (Did Not Compete) in the second race leaves it all to play for in Class 1 IRC. It would appear that Stephen O'Flaherty's immaculate Spirit 54 Soufriere will certainly be a contender for the ECHO prize in that class next week.

A first and second place for Dave Cullen and his team on Checkmate guarantees that the Cullen/Biggs Half-Tonner will collect the Class 2 IRC trophy next week and meant that they could pack the boat into its winter storage a week earlier than anyone else. Second place will certainly go the last race, with two other Half-Tonners The Big Picture and King One along with Richard Colwell and Ronan Cobbe's Fusion all contending for the remaining spoils. A late-season run of form sees Darren Wright and Rick DeNeve's Kodachi 'neck-and-neck' with Dux and Harmony for next week's overall ECHO result.

The application of discards certainly condenses the leaderboard in Class 3, which presents itself as anyone's game with one day to go. Always prominent at the top of the Autumn League scoresheet, Vince Gaffney's Alliance II will race the two K25 teams on their J24s Johnny Bravo and Scandal as well as Kahera and Fulmar Fever for the top prize. The fact that a 4th place IRC prize will be presented means that Fulmar Fever is also likely to be jousting for the ECHO trophy with Jonathan Wormald's Formula 28 Starlet.

The Harris/ Hughes team on their Beneteau Tiger are being hunted down by Dermot Skehan's Toughnut in Class 4, with Harry Byrne's Alphida only 2 points behind. This class is notable for the pedigree of its 'senior' racers, proving that skill and determination are more than a match for youth and enthusiasm in our sport! The ECHO prize might go to either Howard McMullen's Splashdance or Kieran Jameson's Changeling in a result that might replicate the event statistics of many previous decades.

An impressive string of wins in Class 5 means that Windsor Lauden and Steffi Ennis's Shamrock 28 Demelza is already guaranteed the trophy while Declan Gray's Sapphire and Vincent Lundy's Cheyenne lead the class for the ECHO prize and the Denis Wickham Trophy.

Nothing separates Gold Dust and Harlequin in the Puppeteer Class and it's very unlikely that the chasing boats (Trick or Treat and Yellow Peril) will manage to make an impression on the leaders, whose impressive results show them tied on 4 points each after 4 races. However in the Handicap division, the bookies won't be taking any money on Frank Dillon's Flycatcher whose results suggest a remarkable improvement in form within the 17-boat fleet.

Never a class to sit quietly, the Howth Seventeens emerged from a protest that saw just 6 boats scored in a race 2 weeks ago, and consequently many must have been glad to be able to apply their discard following the races this weekend. Two wins by the Turveys' Isobel puts their team at the top of the leaderboard, just ahead of Peter Courtney's Oona and Michael and Jane Duffy's Hera is a further 3 points behind. An effective class handicapping system means that the improved performances of Silver Moon and Eileen affords them the opportunity to compete for the Alphida Cup next week.

One of the most remarkable successes of this year's Autumn League has been the popularity of the 'Taste of Racing', a formula devised by Fergus O'Kelly and utilising the four ISA Sailfleet J80s with a selection of experienced HYC keelboat racers offering a tutorial to keen and prospective racing sailors that are new to the sport. Four of the clubs new J80s are also being chartered by members and are competing in Class 2.

The race management team have confirmed that they will be running a single final race next week and remind competitors of the earlier first warning signal time of 13:00. There are still limited places available at the event dinner and bookings can be made by contacting the office at 01 8322141.

Published in Howth YC
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North Dublin actor Brendan Gleeson was at Howth Yacht Club last Thursday (6 Oct 2016) for the annual RNLI Ladies Lunch in aid of Howth RNLI. The sold-out charity event was attended by 150 local ladies and raised over €8,000.

When asked what motivated him to support the RNLI he responded, ‘The RNLI is an incredible organisation. I’m full of admiration for the work that they do. Many years ago I spent time filming on an RNLI lifeboat in South Wales, and it was a privilege to have the opportunity to get to know the crew well. Last year Howth RNLI was the busiest lifeboat station on the coast of Ireland. It’s an honour to be here today, and it’s great to live in Howth among a bunch of heroes’.

Mr. Gleeson, who is one of Ireland’s most prolific actors on stage and screen, is best known for his roles in The Guard, the Harry Potter films and Braveheart, happily mingled with the guests at the sold-out event, and patiently posed for numerous photographs and selfies.

He gave an insightful and thought-provoking speech about the life-saving work of the RNLI, and how the volunteer crewmembers and the people they rescue are so interlinked with local communities. He spoke about the lessening of anxiety and sense of reassurance a community has, knowing that the lifeboat will come to their aid if needed. Mr. Gleeson also mentioned a line from a Seamus Heaney poem about the economy of kindness, and remarked on the dignity the lifeboat crews show to those in their care. He praised the life-saving volunteers and described them as noble, selfless, strong minded and compassionate, who exhibited Navy discipline with maximum efficiency and safety while maintaining a sense of mutual respect and comradeship for their crew mates.

Rose Michael, Howth RNLI Fundraising Chairperson, commented, ‘

We are thrilled to have Brendan here today. He has a deep respect and genuine understanding of the sacrifices and challenges that our volunteer lifeboat crewmembers face every time they are called out on a rescue. We greatly appreciate that he has taken time out of his very busy schedule to be here with us. The funds today raised will go towards the costs of on-going training and crew kits for the lifeboat crew ’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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