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The St. Michael’s Rowing Club in Dún Laoghaire raised €9,289.80 for the RNLI as part of their fundraising effort for the Celtic Challenge, which they completed in May 2019.

Two crews from the St. Michael’s club entered the Challenge, a mixed crew rowing in a skiff and a ladies crew in a Celtic longboat in a 160km race across the Irish Sea, from Arklow to Aberystwyth.

The cheque was presented to RNLI representatives at the beginning of the week. The club has been taking part in the Celtic Challenge since 1997 and raising funds for various
charities, but this is the highest amount raised so far.

“ The Celtic Challenge is not just about proving the endurance of a team while crossing the Irish Sea, but it is also about how that team dedicates time, energy and passion to support a worthy cause. And we have proven that the Michaels are a great team in that respect as well ,” said Cathy Brooks, who completed the Challenge this year for the first time.

The St. Michael’s Club wishes to thank their sponsors: Newstalk, Morton Coaches, Jones Engineering, The Graduate, Healthy Ireland for their support, as well as everybody who donated for their generosity.

“ We are grateful to all our sponsors, families, friends, work colleagues and supporters who donated and helped us raise these funds for the RNLI and the amazing service they provide,” said Vincent Scully, Fundraising Coordinator for the event for the St. Michael’s Club

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Baltimore RNLI held a special ceremony on the North Pier yesterday which saw the station receive a Vellum (Inscription of thanks from the Institution) marking one hundred years of saving lives at sea and the naming the new Atlantic 85 lifeboat Rita Daphne Smyth. Crowds turned out to witness the occasion and acknowledge the service of the men and women who throughout the last ten decades have seen Baltimore RNLI launched 940 times and rescue 867 people.

The new lifeboat was officially named exactly 100 years on from the day the first lifeboat The Shamrock, arrived in the West Cork coastal village. It will work alongside the station’s All-Weather Tamar lifeboat, Alan Massey. The new inshore lifeboat has been funded by a generous legacy from the late Rita Daphne Smyth and replaces the station’s Atlantic 75 class lifeboat Alice and Charles.

Baltimore B 910 naming 20190908 038Coxswain Kieran Cotter receiving the station vellum from RNLI Council member Hugh Tully

The Atlantic 85 is powered by two 115 horsepower engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed than her predecessor. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and she also has VHF direction-finding equipment. The vessel also has a manually operated self-righting mechanism which combined with inversion-proofed engines, keep the lifeboat operational even after capsizing. The lifeboat can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear.

During the ceremony Mr. Hugh Tully, a member of the RNLI Irish Council and former Commodore of the Irish Naval Service, presented Coxswain Kieran Cotter with a 100th anniversary velum. Kieran accepted the velum on behalf of all past and present members of Baltimore RNLI. On presenting the award Hugh recounted some of the outstanding rescues carried out by the lifeboat crew in Baltimore throughout the years. These included the Fastnet disaster of 1979 where the Baltimore RNLI rescued the crews of Regardless and Marionette in force 10 winds and 40-foot seas. Other memorable callouts included the rescue of former Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, when his yacht Celtic Mist sank at Mizen Head in October 1985, the callout which saw the crew battling challenging conditions when a RIB capsized and sixty bales of cocaine were left in Irish waters and the Rambler rescue where seventeen crew were rescued from the upturned racing yacht.

Speaking after receiving the velum Kieran Cotter Baltimore RNLI Coxswain added, ‘We have had volunteers from our local community who have crewed the lifeboats here for the last one hundred years. This would not have been possible without the support of the local community, crewing the boat and funding the lifeboat service here. Like all lifeboat stations, here in Baltimore we take immense pride in what we do, how we do it, in our boat and in the lifeboat station. We are only the current custodians of the lifeboat service here. On behalf of the present station personnel we would like to thank the community for supporting the life-saving service over the past one hundred years.’

The lifeboat was accepted into the care of the station by Tom Bush, Lifeboat Operations Manager and was named from the end of the slipway by Richard Bushe, former Deputy Launching Authority and Honorary Secretary of the Baltimore Lifeboat station.

Declan Tiernan, Chairman of Baltimore Lifeboat Station ran the proceedings and spoke about the changes at the station over the previous century. In his speech he paid tribute to all lifeboat crew who have been involved with Baltimore RNLI over the last one hundred years, ‘We recognise a lot of the names from the very first lifeboat crew as we have a lot of their descendants with us today. The one constant over the last one hundred years are the people who served as crew of the lifeboat. They were the same type of people who are here today, serving with the same dedication and commitment to saving lives at sea.’

When in 1919, the RNLI put a lifeboat in Baltimore, it was the fourth County Cork station. Since then, Baltimore RNLI lifeboats have launched more than 940 times and their crews have rescued 867 people including 280 lives saved. The Shamrock remained in service until 1950 when a new Watson class lifeboat Sarah Tilson was placed on service. In 1978 the Sarah Tilson was replaced by another Watson class lifeboat called The Robert. In 1984, The Robert was replaced by an Oakley class lifeboat called Charles Henry. In February 1988, a new Tyne class lifeboat Hilda Jarett was placed on service.

In April 2008, a second lifeboat, an inshore Atlantic 75 called Bessie was placed on service at the station to complement the existing all-weather lifeboat. In February 2012 a new Tamar class lifeboat Alan Massey replaced the Hilda Jarrett.

In July 2013 a complete refurbishment of the lifeboat house was finished, leaving the station with state-of-the-art facilities.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A motorboat that became propped up on pot buoys in Baltimore Harbour at the weekend made a direct call for help to the local RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat which was returning to base nearby.

The incident occurred on Saturday evening (7 September) after the Baltimore lifeboat had just completed a training exercise with the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

Lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “The skipper of the motorboat realised immediately that he needed assistance and as he had been watching the lifeboat and helicopter demonstration minutes before, he knew that the quickest way to alert the lifeboat was to call them directly on channel 16 on his VHF.”

Within minutes the all-weather lifeboat — with coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Emma Lupton, Ronnie Carthy, David Ryan, Jim Griffiths, Ryan O’Mahony and Eoin Ryan — was alongside the 33ft motor vessel.

Another motorboat skippered by former lifeboat crewman Torsten Marten was also nearby at the time, and he was drafted to assist in transferring two lifeboat crew to the casualty vessel rather than having to launch the lifeboat’s Y-boat.

The casualty boat was then secured alongside the all-weather lifeboat and brought to the safety of Baltimore’s North Pier.

Callanan reminded all boaters: “It is vital for anyone going to sea to always carry a means of communication such as a mobile phone or VHF in order to raise the alarm should they require help.”

The callout came on the eve of Baltimore RNLI’s centenary celebration yesterday (Sunday 8 September), at which it named its new Atlantic 85 inshore vessel 100 years to the date since the arrival of its first ever lifeboat.

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI launched on Thursday night (5 September) to tow a razor fishing boat with two on board that struck rocks off Red Island and damaged its steering.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI’s new Atlantic 85 lifeboat will be officially named Rita Daphne Smyth during a ceremony at the North Pier at 3pm this Sunday 8 September.

As part of the station’s centenary celebrations, the lifeboat, which was placed on service earlier this year, will be officially named exactly 100 years on from the day the first lifeboat, The Shamrock, arrived in the West Cork coastal village.

The RNLI says the new lifeboat has been funded by a generous legacy from the late Rita Daphne Smyth and replaces the station’s Atlantic 75 class lifeboat Alice and Charles.

The Atlantic 85 is the latest version of the B class, introduced into the fleet in 2005 — powered by two 115HP engines and with a stronger hull and greater top speed.

The self-righting vessel comes with radar and a full suite of communication and and navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.

Tom Bushe, Baltimore’s lifeboat operations manager said that to receive and name a new lifeboat during the station’s centenary celebrations was something special.

“Our volunteers and the Baltimore community are delighted and excited to name our new inshore lifeboat exactly 100 years on from the day the very first lifeboat arrived at our station. We are most grateful to the late Rita Daphne Smyth for her generous legacy which has funded our lifeboat.

“Volunteers from the local community have been crewing a lifesaving service here for 100 years and we will be proud custodians of this new lifeboat, which will go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years ahead.”

When Baltimore saw The Shamrock begin service in 1919, it was the fourth lifeboat station in Co Cork. Since then, Baltimore RNLI’s lifeboats have launched more that 940 times and their crews have rescued 867 people including 280 lives saved.

The Shamrock remained in service until 1950 when a new Watson class lifeboat, Sarah Tilson, was placed on service. In 1978, the Sarah Tilson was replaced by another Watson class lifeboat called The Robert, which was replaced six years later was replaced by an Oakley class lifeboat called Charles Henry. In February 1988, a new Tyne class lifeboat, Hilda Jarett, was placed on service.

In April 2008, a second lifeboat, an inshore Atlantic 75 called Bessie, joined the station to complement the existing all-weather lifeboat. In February 2012 a new Tamar class lifeboat, Alan Massey, replaced the Hilda Jarrett.

In July the following year a complete refurbishment of the lifeboat house was finished, leaving the station with state-of-the-art facilities.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lifeboat crew at Castletownbere RNLI were launched yesterday afternoon to assist a 24-metre fishing vessel which had lost all power four miles west of the Bull Rock in West Cork.

The lifeboat was tasked by Valentia Coastguard Radio shortly after 1.00pm and was launched immediately under the command of coxswain Dean Hegarty. The 24-metre fishing boat, with five persons aboard, had lost all power and requested assistance. The lifeboat located the stricken vessel at 2.20pm four miles west of the Bull Rock in a 5 metre swell and NW Force 7/8 winds. Once on scene the lifeboat crew quickly took the vessel under tow and started a slow passage back to Castletownbere. The fishing vessel was berthed safely at the pier at 8.45pm.

Commenting on callout Castletownbere RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, Felix O’Donoghue said, ‘While the vessel was not initially in any immediate danger, conditions on scene were challenging and the vessel was drifting without power. The boat made the right decision to seek assistance and the result was positive'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s mechanic Kieran O’Connell came to the rescue of a small dog who fell from a height and became trapped on Dun Laoghaire’s East Pier this morning.

A member of the public rang the lifeboat station at 11.40am to raise the alarm and reported that the dog had fallen onto rocks and had become trapped in the water between two sets of steps half way down the East Pier.

Kieran launched the station’s boarding boat and made his way to where the dog had been in the water for approximately 15 minutes. The dog was successfully retrieved and found to be shaken but uninjured.

Speaking following the rescue, Kieran said: ‘Toby had quite the fall this morning and got stuck between two sets of steps before ending up in the water for about 15 minutes. Thankfully, while a little frightened he was not injured and was delighted to be reunited with his owners.

‘We would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm this morning. Many dog owners can find themselves in trouble when they try to rescue their pets instead of calling 999 or 112 for the Coast Guard. We would remind everyone that it is important to keep yourself safe when you walk with your pet. Keep dogs on a lead close to cliff edges or fast flowing water. If your pet does get into water, stuck in mud or falls from a height, don’t go in after them. Move to a place where your pet can get to safely and call them if you think they can get out by themselves. If you are worried about them, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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After a successful return last year, the Cork RNLI charity lunch and auction at Maryborough Hotel will be held on Friday 1 November to raise funds for Baltimore, Crosshaven and Kinsale RNLI lifeboat stations. The fundraising event is a popular one for the lifeboat charity as friends and supporters of the RNLI come together to raise funds for three of Cork’s lifeboat stations and experience fine dining, great entertainment and the chance to bid on some wonderful auction items.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Fastnet tragedy when 19 people drowned and 132 sailors were rescued by the RNLI, the Irish Naval Service, Royal Navy and RAF helicopters. Four Irish RNLI stations spent 74 hours at sea.

Baltimore lifeboat station also celebrates its centenary this year, giving 100 years of volunteer service to saving lives at sea. Crosshaven, Kinsale and Baltimore RNLI have all had a busy year with volunteer lifeboat crew making the news for a variety of call outs to people in trouble on the water, and in some extraordinary cases, animals too. Kinsale RNLI have passed out their youngest ever lifeboat helm at 21 years of age and Crosshaven volunteers responded to a call out involving a blue shark who had badly bitten an angler.

Last year the Baltimore, Crosshaven and Kinsale RNLI lifeboat stations launched 69 times and brought 93 people to safety. Not every cal lout will make headlines but to the people involved, the lifeboats are their lifeline in times of trouble on the water.

The lunch and auction will get underway at 12pm on Friday 1 November, where guests will be welcomed in the Orangery. This will be followed by a three-course lunch in the Sherrard Suite at 1.30pm.

This year the event will be hosted by comedian Barry Murphy who will provide the entertainment and hold the post-lunch auction and draw. After last year’s show-stopping interview with Baltimore RNLI Coxswain Kieran Cotter, the organisers have promised more surprises on the day.

RNLI fundraising committee member Avril O’Brien is looking forward to what promises to be an event to remember. Commenting on the plans, Avril said: ‘We are delighted to be back hosting the Cork RNLI Lifeboat Lunch. After last year’s success, we couldn’t wait to get planning again. The RNLI is a very important charity to Cork people. The lifeboats are very visible along our coastline and we know that when we need them the volunteer lifeboat crew will drop everything to come to our aid.

‘Raising funds for the RNLI ensures they can continue to go to sea and save lives. This event, as well as being great fun and an opportunity to meet new people and old friends, highlights the work of the lifeboat crews on our coasts and shows people were the money they raise goes.’

Tickets priced at €65 are now on sale and will be sold in tables of 10. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets please log on to Eventbrite.co.uk or contact Mary Creedon Community Fundraising Manager at [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry all-weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out at 2.36 am this morning Wednesday to go to the aid of an 85-foot fishing boat which sought assistance as it got into difficulties near the Kinsale Gas Rigs approx 25 miles east of the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of six, the lifeboat crew was underway within 10 minutes under the cover of darkness and immediately made its way to the area of the casualty. The distress alarm was raised by the fishing vessel with three crew on board when they fouled their propellers and became disabled while trawling in the area.

The Lifeboat located the casualty at 4.15 am and a tow rope was immediately attached in order to secure the fishing vessel in lumpy seas with a strong wind blowing 20 Knots.

The Lifeboat proceeded to tow the large stricken boat at low speed back to the safe surrounds of Kinsale Harbour and have just arrived there safely after being at sea for over 9 hours. The causality is now being docked at the Kinsale Pierhead.

Commenting on today’s early morning Callout, Voluntary Lifeboat Station LPO Vincent O Donovan praised all the Crew members and Station Personnel that responded from their beds quickly this morning when the bleepers went off and carried out this rescue with great professionalism in complete darkness and with the weather deteriorating.

The crew onboard today’s early morning call were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Chris Guy and crew members Denis Murphy, Simon Locke, Jim O Donnell, Conor Dullea and Dean Hennessey.

The Lifeboat will now make its way back to its base in Courtmacsherry to refuel and return back to its mooring in readiness of whenever the next callout will be.

The All Weather Lifeboat will be open to the public on this coming Sunday from 2 to 5.30pm at the Courtmacsherry Pier as part of the Model Mania weekend in the village being organized by the Lifeboat Station. Models of all makes of Lifeboats along with Model trains, boats, trucks, planes etc will be available for viewing in the Community Centre on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm with free entry on both days.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Nearly five years into his epic project to photograph every RNLI lifeboat station with a Victorian-era camera, Jack Lowe this week began the Northern Ireland leg of the mammoth undertaking.

Starting yesterday (Tuesday 3 September) at Red Bay, Lowe’s four-week swing also includes Portrush tomorrow (Thursday 5 September), then Enniskillen, Carrybridge, Newcastle, Kilkeel, Portaferry, Donaghadee, Bangor and Larne before he returns home to Newcastle-upon-Tyne — via Portpatrick and Stranraer in Scotland.

Lowe will capture each lifeboat station and its crew using wet plate collodion, a process developed in the 1850s — when the RNLI also began — that creates stunning images on glass.

Following this 19th leg, the end of The Lifeboat Station Project will be in sight as the remaining station count will be down to double figures.

When completed, The Lifeboat Station Project will be the very first time every station on the RNLI network been documented as one complete body of work. It is also one of the biggest photographic projects ever undertaken, the RNLI says.

As with the rest of his adventure, Lowe travelled to Northern Ireland on Monday (2 September) with ‘Neena’, a decommissioned NHS ambulance purchased on eBay, which he converted into a mobile darkroom.

Along the way Lowe has been sharing the ups and downs of his mission on social media. He also makes videos and sound recordings, enabling his followers to get a real sense of what life is like within lifeboat communities.

Almost a year ago, Lowe reached the halfway mark of his epic project that previously took him to Ireland’s South Coast, where he completed his 100th station in Valentia.

By the end of September 2018, he estimates to have used around 1,500 glass plates, 120 litres of developer and 45 litres of collodion.

Lowe had also driven some 28,000 miles — the equivalent of more than once round the world.

“It’s a privilege spending time with so many lifeboat volunteers, preserving their bravery and devotion for future generations,” Lowe says.

“This journey is unprecedented in so many ways. The further I travel, the deeper the body of work becomes on just about every level and in ways that I could never have foreseen or imagined.”

The Lifeboat Station Project’s dedicated website has links to Lowe’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, as well as his Patreon campaign.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI says it wants to help children Swim Safe with free water safety sessions at the Share Discovery Village on Upper Lough Erne for the first time this September.

The fun, hour-long sessions teach young people how to swim safely outdoors and what to do if they, or others, get into difficulty in the water.

There will be four sessions held each day on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September and there are up to 20 places available per session.

Parents and carers can book their child’s free place online at SwimSafe.org.uk

To take part, children must be aged between seven and 14 years and be able to swim 25 metres unaided.

The sessions are run by qualified swimming instructors and lifeguards, supported by a team of volunteers and give children:

  • Up to 30 minutes of practical, in-water tuition led by qualified instructors.
  • Essential open water safety advice.
  • A free Swim Safe goody bag take home.

All the kit needed to take part, including wetsuits, swim hats and flotation equipment, is provided for each child during the sessions. Children only need to bring their swimsuit and a towel.

Ashley Jones, RNLI Swim Safe Manager, says: “Children love swimming outdoors, but it’s very different to swimming in a pool, where most children learn to swim.

“It’s essential children learn about open water safety — where it is safe to swim, how to stay safe and what to do if they get into difficulty in the water.

“We want all children to have access to this training, so all Swim Safe sessions are funded by the RNLI and Swim England partnership and so are completely free of charge.”

This year is the first time Swim Safe is being run on inland waters in Northern Ireland.

For more information about Swim Safe, visit SwimSafe.org.uk

Published in Inland Waterways
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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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