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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

It was a busy weekend for Oban RNLI in Western Scotland, with its lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald responding to two separate incidents, covering over 120 miles.

The first call came Saturday afternoon (7 December) as the lifeboat launched in gale force winds and high seas, alongside the Islay RNLI lifeboat, to assist a 28m vessel that had lost steering in the Sound of Jura, just north of the MacCormaig Islands.

Islay were first to arrive on scene and it was established that the casualty vessel was able to make way using its emergency steering. Oban lifeboat was requested to rendezvous with the Islay volunteers and the casualty vessel to take over the escort.

Having battled high seas and poor visibility, the Oban crew arrived on scene shortly after 6pm.

While the casualty vessel was able to make way under its own power, the decision was made to continue escorting it to the safety of Craobh Haven Marina.

Given the weather conditions, with wind speeds of up to 50mph and the size of the vessel, it was decided that the Islay lifeboat should also remain on scene. The vessel made a steady speed north towards Craobh accompanied by both lifeboats.

On arrival at 8.15pm, the Oban lifeboat used its searchlights to illuminate the entrance in driving rain, giving the casualty vessel enough visibility to manoeuvre into the marina.

After several attempts at berthing in extremely challenging conditions, the vessel made it alongside with assistance from the Oban crew and, with the help of Craobh Haven Marina’s staff, the vessel was safely tied alongside by 9pm.

The second call came yesterday afternoon (Sunday 8 December) when the volunteer crew launched at 3pm to a report of a yacht adrift off Corpach.

The lifeboat made best speed in the conditions, arriving on scene by 4.30pm. Two crew members were put on board the yacht to determine whether anyone was on board.

With nothing found, it was decided a line would be put ashore to a nearby pier to ensure it didn’t drift further. The Fort William Coastguard Team were also on scene to take lines ashore and secure the vessel.

Published in Scottish Waters
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RTÉ’s Fergal Keane will be at Baltimore Sailing Club next Saturday 7 December for the launch of a new book celebrating 100 years of the West Cork village’s RNLI lifeboat service.

Baltimore Lifeboat: A Community Story by Éamon Lankford is now available, priced €16, with all proceeds going to Baltimore RNLI.

Seascapes presenter Keane will be in attendance to host the official launch from 8pm next Saturday, and all are welcome to attend — while the author will be signing copies earlier that afternoon from 3pm to 4pm at Hickey’s newsagents in Skibbereen.

For details on how to get a copy of the book, contact [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteers at Oban and Tobermory’s RNLI lifeboat stations in eastern Scotland have been recognised for their invaluable service in this year’s Excellence in Volunteering Awards.

Oban’s four deputy coxswains — Mark Scott, Finlo Cottier, David Isaac and James Hardie — have all been recognised by the RNLI for their dedication to the station.

The certificates awarded by the RNLI’s chairman and council recorded their “sincere thanks” for “giving time to help provide full time coxswain cover at the station” and for their “commitment and leadership”.

In addition, the Argyll station’s press officers Iain Fulton and Leonie Mead also received awards for their “invaluable support to Oban Lifeboat Station”.

Meanwhile, Tobermory Lifeboat Station — nearby, on the Isle of Mull — received an Excellence in Volunteering Award earlier in the autumn following an operational evaluation carried out by an independent RNLI team of assessors.

The award recognised the crew’s “invaluable service to the institution” and that “with a committed management team and crew fully engaged in all aspects of the station, your focused team efforts, camaraderie and professionalism are greatly appreciated”.

Tobermory lifeboat operations manager Dr Sam Jones also received an award in recognition of her “invaluable service” to the station, of her “outstanding contribution” and for “making a positive impact at the station, engaging the crew and providing safe and effective leadership”.

Full-time coxswain David McHaffie and mechanic Paul Gunn have also received staff awards in recognition of their leadership and dedication at the station.

The RNLI’s prestigious Excellence in Volunteering Awards recognise both staff and volunteers who have gone above and beyond what is expected of them.

Members of both stations attended a celebratory dinner at the Playfair Library in Edinburgh on Saturday 16 November, hosted by the RNLI’s chairman Stuart Popham and Scottish chairman Roger Lockwood.

Tobermory crew and partners with RNLI chairman Stuart Popham | Photo: RNLI/TobermoryTobermory crew and partners with RNLI chairman Stuart Popham. From left: Annette Stirling, Mick Stirling, Eug Thomasson, Simon Thomasson, Will Thorne, RNLI chairman Stuart Popham, Kirsty Blackhall, Iain Malcolm, Mhairi McAdam and Ian McAdam | Photo: RNLI/Tobermory

The dinner rounded off a busy week for Tobermory RNLI. Members of the crew represented the station at the previous weekend’s Remembrance events in Tobermory, including the community commemoration, ‘Mull Remembers’, on Saturday 9 November and Sunday’s service at Tobermory Parish Church and wreath-laying at the war memorial.

Tobermory’s RNLI shop and fundraising branc,h along with some members of the crew, also hosted a mince pie and coffee morning at the Aros Hall on Saturday 16 November. This well-attended annual event took over £600 in shop sales and an incredible £508 from a raffle and donations.

McHaffie said: “The awards to the station recognise the hard work of everyone involved, particularly our volunteers who give up so much of their free time, not only for training and carrying out rescues, but also for helping to make the station run effectively and efficiently.

“I’m pleased that some partners of the crew were also able to attend the celebratory dinner in Edinburgh as we couldn’t operate without the support of our families and friends.”

Published in Scottish Waters

Invergordon RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew launched at 8.36pm last night (Saturday 23 November) to reports of a vessel with no power drifting towards oil rigs in the Cromarty Firth.

The all-weather Trent class lifeboat Douglas Aikman Smith made best speed to the location of two anchored oil rigs — iconic fixtures in the firth — with the two male occupants of the stricken RIB signalling their location by head torch.

After suffering engine trouble shortly after setting off from Nigg, the RIB had drifted a considerable distance with the incoming tide, coming close to the unmanned structures before the lifeboat arrived on scene five minutes after launching.

With no medical issues and the casualties assessed, the lifeboat took the 10ft RIB under tow to Nigg slipway to be recovered and escorted its two crew safely ashore in the lifeboat’s XP boat.

Published in Scottish Waters

It was a sad day this week as Stonehaven RNLI said goodbye to the last Atlantic 75 lifeboat in service in Scotland.

The volunteer crew in Aberdeenshire watched as Miss Berry was winched out of the water to be transported to Poole.

A brand new Atlantic 85, Jamie Hunter, is due to arrive on station in the next few weeks. At the moment the crew are training hard on a relief Atlantic 85.

The new lifeboat has some advancement on its predecessor. The Atlantic 85 design allows room for four crew members and more kit than the Atlantic 75 lifeboat, which only had room for three crew.

It is powered by two 115hp engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and there is also VHF direction-finding equipment.

The Atlantic 85, which was introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005, also carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.

Stonehaven lifeboat operations manager Andy Martin said: “We are all sorry to say goodbye to Miss Betty. The Atlantic 75 has been a great lifeboat and kept many people safe, but we are proud to be the custodians of this new lifeboat that will allow our volunteers to save many more lives in the years to come.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Howth RNLI is hosting a special Lifeboat Supporters’ Evening tonight, Tuesday 19 November, from 7.30pm at Howth Yacht Club.

Those attending will learn the latest news and updates from the Howth lifesaving volunteers, as well as see video of their vital rescue efforts.

RNLI Christmas cards and souvenirs will also be on sale to raise funs for the charity that saves lives at sea. All are welcome to attend.

This coming Thursday (21 November) there will also be a lifeboat evening at King Sitric restaurant, with a six course local seasonal menu and a lively auction in aid of Howth RNLI. Details are on Facebook HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arranmore RNLI has paid tribute to lifeboat volunteer Lee Early, who died on Sunday (17 November) after an incident at a pier on the Co Donegal island.

TheJournal.ie reports that Early (26) and another man, who survived the incident, were in a car that slipped off the pier into the sea around 5.10am.

It’s believed they had been trying to turn the car on the pier when the accident occurred.

Early’s remains were escorted back to Arranmore yesterday evening (Monday 18 November) ahead of his funeral scheduled for noon tomorrow at St Crone’s Church.

“He was a proud Lifeboatman, a skilled Skipper and a much loved friend to us all, he will be greatly missed by the whole community,” the lifeboat team said in a statement on Facebook.

“The Arranmore Community & diaspora, along with the RNLI and wider SAR community will stand with the Early family at this difficult time. Ar dhéis Dé go mbeidh a anam dilís.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lerwick lifeboat launched late Friday night (15 November) to the aid of a fishing vessel which had grounded on rocks just north of the Shetland Islands harbour.

The 26-metre, Inverness-registered trawler was stuck fast and was listing when the Severn-class all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene around 1.40am.

Lerwick Port Authority vessels Knab and Kebister, and the fishing vessel Faithlie, also arrived soon after to assist.

After assessing the damage, attempts by the lifeboat crew to tow the vessel off the rocks on a falling tide were unsuccessful, with two tow lines on the lifeboat snapped in the effort. The other vessels on scene were also unable to free the trawler from the rock.

The nine crew members were taken off the stricken vessel by the lifeboat around 4am and safely returned to Lerwick Harbour, with only minor injuries, and into the care of the ambulance service.

Weather conditions were calm with light winds and a moderate sea swell, with the air temperature just above freezing.

Around 12 hours later, the lifeboat returned to the scene to assist with another attempt to refloat the vessel at high tide, just before 1pm on Saturday.

The Knab and Kebister were successful in pulling the vessel off the rocks on Saturday afternoon and took the vessel under tow into Lerwick Harbour, accompanied by Lerwick lifeboat.

Lerwick RNLI’s deputy coxswain Tommy Goudie said: “The outcome of this grounding could have been a lot worse. Thanks to fair weather and the combined efforts of ourselves and Lerwick Port Authority vessels, the fishing crew are safe, and the vessel is now safely in harbour.

“The crew did the right thing by contacting the coastguard as soon as they knew they needed help. They were wearing survival suits and life jackets and deployed their life raft in case it became necessary. Our crew are always ready to respond and we’re pleased to be able to assist.”

Published in Scottish Waters

Wicklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat put to sea at 1.20pm on Saturday afternoon (16 November) after being tasked to assist a whelk fishing vessel in difficulties.

The lifeboat, under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh and a volunteer crew, was alongside the drifting vessel half an hour later, some 10 miles south east of Wicklow harbour.

A rope had been fouled in the vessel’s propeller while whelk fishing and it had lost all propulsion.

Weather conditions on scene had a moderate sea state, with winds north-westerly Force 4 and good visibility.

A towline was quickly established and the fishing vessel was towed into Wicklow Harbour, where the three fishermen were landed safely ashore and the boat was secured alongside the south quay at 4.30pm.

The crew on the callout alongside Keogh were mechanic Brendan Copeland, David O’Leary, Lisa O’Leary and John Stapleton.

Published in Fishing
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A group of seven men from the North Coast hatched a novel way to carry out some fundraising for the Portrush and Islay RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews recently.

As a group of keen sailors and avid supporters of the RNLI and the Scottish islands, they wanted to marry the two passions together and have some fun along the way.

The team decided to row to Islay to recreate a journey made over the generations using only manpower to raise money for the lifeboats.

The team was fortunate to be able to borrow ‘Home to Portrush’, the famous local boat that had crossed the Atlantic in record time in February 2018. Their challenge was to visit all the coastal distilleries on Islay and collect some whiskey from each one.

Ashley Moore, one of the crew, said: “We left from Ballintoy at 3am in idyllic conditions in order to reach Port Ellen and not be swept around the headland as the tide turned.

“Thankfully we made it in nine-and-a-half hours and over the next three days went on to visit Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Coal Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bowmore and Bruichladdich, collecting whisky bottles along the way.

“We were blown away by the warmth of the welcome across Islay and the distilleries — we were given many offers of food and accommodation and each distillery presented us with a bottle of whisky and a stave from one of their barrels to allow us to create the Islay Sea Collection.”

On returning home, team member and local architect Graeme Montgomery set out to design and create a unique cask to display the bottles of whisky, with the source of each stave marked.

‘This is a really exciting and novel way to raise funds for the two stations’

Bids are now being accepted until Sunday 17 November at just-whisky.co.uk for this ‘one of a kind’ whisky collection — and sponsors, including Coleraine software company Spatialest, have already pledged £2,000.

To register to bid you will have to pay £5 but this will be donated to RNLI. During registration, under box number 2 will see a box asking you to leave a message — in this box you must type in RNLI BID to ensure that the £5 registration fee comes to Portrush and Islay RNLI.

Portrush lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said: “This is a really exciting and novel way to raise funds for the two stations. We often have to work with Islay, and this is a great way to work with one of our neighbours and local supporters to raise funds for the RNLI.”

Ashley Moore added: “This was a really fun way to see the Scottish islands in a different way while helping to raise funds to support the work of the RNLI – and to enjoy some exceptional whisky!

“As sea lovers each one of our team never takes for granted the exceptional and brave work of the lifeboat crews and we are so grateful to know they are there whenever needed.”

Published in Scottish Waters
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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