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#Lifeboats - As noted by Tom MacSweeney in his latest podcast, Wicklow is the last RNLI station with a Tyne class lifeboat in service.

Before the current Tyne lifeboat Annie Blaker is officially taken off service later this year, it will be replaced by a relief Shannon class lifeboat — the fastest and most technologically advanced class in the fleet.

The Shannon class Jock and Annie Slater is due to arrive in Wicklow on Sunday 24 February at 2:30pm.

Annie Blaker has been the busiest all-weather lifeboat in the history of the station, being involved in over 340 services, rescuing over 400 people.

It will be a bittersweet time for the crew, station management and fundraisers with the arrival of the new lifeboat and the departure of Annie.

The relief lifeboat, which will eventually be replaced by a permanent Shannon for Wicklow in a few years’ time, will have a temporary berth at the South Quay.

Each lifeboat class has a unique slip to launch from and as the Shannon is very different to the Tyne class, this temporary mooring near the station will support it until Wicklow receives its permanent Shannon lifeboat.

Work will need to be undertaken to support the changes at Wicklow and this will be undertaken in full consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Commenting on the changes, Wicklow RNLI lifeboat operations manager Des Davitt said: “The confidence displayed by the RNLI Council and trustees, who have given the go-ahead for this major investment, is a testament to the service of all crew, committees and fundraising teams, past and present.

“History is in the making as the newest, fastest, state-of-the-art lifeboat is about to arrive. Already our coxswains and mechanics have attended training in Poole and a crew from our station has been tasked with bringing the Shannon class lifeboat into Wicklow on Sunday 24 February where the rest of the crew will receive training from the fleet staff coxswains.

“Over the next three years major work will be carried out on the station and slip to accommodate the arrival of our own Shannon in early 2022. None of this would be possible without the magnificent support of the people, businesses and organisations of Wicklow and environs.

“It is an exciting time for all involved and indeed for the people of Wicklow.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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When Baltimore Lifeboat Station in West Cork was established the First World War was raging in Europe. That was back in 1915 when the original station was built, but due to the War no lifeboat arrived in Baltimore until 1919 …. and there was some feeling about her name…. She had been launched as the ‘Duke of Connacht,’ but because of sentiment in the wake of the Easter Rising of 1916, her name was changed to the ‘Shamrock’ before she arrived in Baltimore.

One of my particular maritime memories is being aboard the Baltimore Lifeboat when it used to be launched down the slipway from inside the old station. There was a steel girder across the roof and, if I remember correctly, it had a warning: “Mind Your Head” which flashed over the top of the lifeboat as it rapidly went down the slipway into the water.

This came to mind when I was given a look through the station’s recorded history, in conjunction with the planned celebration of its centenary this September.

There’s a fine, modern lifeboat station in Baltimore now, with both offshore all-weather and inshore boats. I remember being there the morning of Charlie Haughey’s rescue from the sinking of his yacht, ‘Celtic Mist’ at the Mizen in October of 1985.

"Back in 1979, Baltimore was the first lifeboat to launch to the rescue of sailors in the Fastnet Yacht Race disaster"

Back in 1979, Baltimore was the first lifeboat to launch to the rescue of sailors in the Fastnet Yacht Race disaster. That event got more attention than another unusual service the same year when the West Cork crew assisted in transferring an injured man to Bantry Hospital following a mutiny aboard a Greek container ship!

There will be a lot happening on the lifeboat scene this year, with the last operational Tyne Class all-weather lifeboat on service in Ireland leaving over the next few months from service in Wicklow and new Shannon Class boats going there and Clogherhead.

And in Cork Harbour, Crosshaven lifeboat station is looking for crew for its inshore boat. Like many village communities, they have a large number of crew working outside the village during the day and, therefore, not available for emergencies, which is putting a strain on their ability to respond in working hours. So they are looking for people over 17 who are at home in the village during the day.

Listen to the podcast where Niamh Stephenson of the RNLI describes the changes and when the new Clogherhead boat will be arriving…..

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The “All In A Row 2018” event on the capital’s River Liffey was supported by teams rowing 40 boats including skiffs, kayaks, canoes and currachs to exceed a 1,000km in eight hours, raising €12,000 for these charities.

Starting from St. Patrick’s Rowing Club at the Tom Clarke Bridge (formerly the East Link Bridge) and finishing at the Ha’penny Bridge, the Liffey was busy with lots of rowing crews, kayaks, canoes and currachs.

RNLI fundraising teamThe Howth RNLI Lifeboat Fund Raising Team with Lord Mayor Nial Ring

Lord Mayor Nial Ring joined a crew on one of the skiffs for the December event and completed his turn in style.

The challenge was undertaken with the aim of showcasing the River Liffey as one of Dublin’s best amenities while raising funds for the water-related charities, the RNLI and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.

A wreath-laying ceremony by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, took place to commemorate all those who have lost their lives through drowning. Pat O’Connor, Trumpeter with the Communication Workers Union Brass Band played the Last Post on the Sean O’Casey Bridge.

The RNLI Howth Lifeboat Education Team delivered the RNLI Respect The Water message to 350 pupils from city schools, and the pupils visited the Atlantic 85 lifeboat which was berthed alongside the Jeanie Johnston replica famine ship. 

Liffey rowing boatsCompetitors row their boats on the River Liffey

Many Dublin rowing clubs have their home on the River Liffey and are a regular sight on the water. At the port end of the river is St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Stella Maris Rowing Club, Dublin Currach Rowers Union, East Wall Water Sports Group and Poolbeg Yacht and Boat club. Ringsend Basin is home to the
Plurabelle Paddlers (dragon boats) and the Dublin Viking Dragon boats.

At the other end of the city beyond Heuston Station, there are many river rowing clubs and kayaking clubs, including Phoenix Rowing Club.

Commenting on the event, the All In a Row Crew said, ‘Everyone knows the River Liffey but most people don’t know how far it stretches and how many rowing groups use it regularly. There is a vibrant boating community on the River Liffey and these clubs regard it as the living artery of the city and one of Dublin’s
great and undervalued amenities.’

‘After the beautiful summer we’ve had, we know that people are drawn to the water, whether on the coast or inland to enjoy different water sports. The Liffey is an undervalued and underused resource that is right under people’s noses and we want to encourage them to use it and to use it safely. From school children
right up to seasoned rowers, this is a great opportunity to draw people down to the Liffey and learn about water safety and the fun activities they can do on the water all year round.’

Crew, supporters and sponsors raised through the GoFundMe page a fantastic €12,000 to be divided between RNLI Lifeboat Howth and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.

Published in Rowing
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#Lifeboats - RNLI volunteers at Lough Ree have launched their sixth Lap of Lough Ree charity cycle which will take place this year on Sunday 28 April.

The annual 85km cycle raising funds for the lifesaving service in Athlone will go anti-clockwise around Lough Ree starting and finishing at The Bounty at Buccaneers Rugby Club, with a pit-stop in Lanesborough at the north of Lough Ree.

Speaking at the launch, Sarah Bradbury, Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer, said: “We are delighted with the support that the cycle has received each year and that it’s becoming a favourite in the cycling calendar.

“This is a relatively relaxed route for cyclists to ease themselves back into the saddle while taking in the stunning views of Lough Ree.

“Those who participate in the cycle do so knowing they are raising vital funds for Lough Ree RNLI and we would like to thank them in advance for that.

“Funds raised will maintain and equip our inshore lifeboat and will allow our volunteer crew to continue to train and develop their lifesaving skills so when the need arises they can help those who get into difficulty on the lake.”

Registration for the event (entry fee €20) will start at 9am on 28 April in The Bounty. Further information on the cycle and updates can be found on Facebook.com/loughreernli or by emailing [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Bangor RNLI was delighted yesterday (Tuesday 29 January) Yesterday afternoon, Bangor RNLI was delighted to welcome a delegation led by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Chairman of the RNLI Operations Committee.

Sir Tim and other top RNLI officials met volunteers who run the Bangor lifeboat station as part of the charity’s coastal review.

Together, they spent more than two hours discussing the running of the lifeboat station, the views of management, crew members and fund-raisers, as well as their hopes for the future.

Sir Tim, who is chairman of the RNLI’s operations committee, explained that he and his colleagues visit every lifeboat station in the country in a rolling series of visits to ensure the RNLI remains relevant to each station’s unique needs.

He thanked all the Bangor RNLI volunteers for their commitment to keeping the local waters and shores safe and said how impressed he was to see the high standards set by Bangor are being maintained.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The crew of Donaghadee RNLI lifeboat put to sea on Sunday (27 January ) morning for their fortnightly exercise and also to lay a floral tribute on behalf of the Sir Samuel Kelly Project.

The volunteer crew paid their respects to all those who lost their lives 66 years ago on the 31st January 1953 with the loss of the MV Princess Victoria in the North Channel.

It was poignant that weather conditions on Sunday 27 January would have been akin to that experienced by the crews of Donaghadee, Portpatrick, Cloughey & Newcastle RNLI lifeboats and all the other vessels on that day as they battled to render assistance to those in peril.

A commemorative wreath was put into the sea by the lifeboats Second Coxswain, John Ashwood who commented ‘It was an honour to put to sea today and lay a tribute on behalf of the Sir Samuel Kelly Project to remember the 133 souls that were lost. It was very fitting that the conditions were challenging and made it even more poignant to think of what our former crew members had to face on that occasion’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Lifeboats - Hundreds gathered on the high wall in Dunmore East on Sunday evening (20 January) to welcome the town’s all-weather lifeboat Elizabeth and Ronald back home after more than a year out of service.

On 1 December 2017, Dunmore East RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat sustained damage overnight while moored alongside its pontoon. Afterwards, the lifeboat was moved to Falmouth Boat Yard in the UK for repair.

Last week the lifeboat went through extensive sea trials before it was allowed to return on service in Dunmore East.

At 5pm on Sunday evening, people gathered on the high wall in Dunmore East to catch the first glimpse of the lifeboat as it returned home. Refreshments were served to all at the station house after in celebration of the lifeboat’s return.

The service has been maintained in Dunmore East with relief lifeboat 14-06 Windsor Runner on station.

The volunteer crews are having a busy period responding to three separate incidents this week alone. On Wednesday 16 January, the lifeboat crew assisted a 26m fishing vessel with engine trouble 10 miles South of Dunmore East.

And on Sunday afternoon, the crew assisted a 26m fishing vessel with engine trouble six miles South East of Dunmore East, as well as a 15m fishing vessel on rocks a mile north of Hook Head.

Ciaran O’Muaillain, RNLI lifeboat operations manager for Dunmore East RNLI, said: “It is fantastic to have our own lifeboat back again, our volunteer crew are very attached to Elizabeth and Ronald.

“It was a very emotional evening and I would like to thank everyone for coming out to support our lifeboat crew on this special evening.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Lifeboats - The RNLI's all-weather lifeboat from Courtmacsherry rescued a fishing vessel which got into difficulty today with two people onboard yesterday afternoon (Monday 21 January).

The lifeboat was called out at 1.15pm to go to the aid of the 40ft vessel which had got into difficulties off the Seven Heads peninsula in West Cork and required assistance.

Under coxswain Sean O'Farrell and a crew of six, the lifeboat was quickly away and made its way at full speed to the area of the casualty.

Conditions at sea were fresh, with winds blowing Force 6 as the cold snap of weather finally hit the South Coast.

The lifeboat reached the casualty at 1.45pm and immediately took the boat, which had two crew members, in tow.

After a slow tow in lumpy conditions, the lifeboat and the casualty arrived to the safe surrounds of the Courtmacsherry Pontoon at 3.15pm.

This is the second callout so far of 2019 and voluntary lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer praised all the crew who responded so quickly today on a cold January Monday.

The crew on yesterday’s callout were coxswain Sean O’Farrell, mechanic Stuart Russell and crew members Mark Gannon, Dara Gannon, Ken Cashman, Austin McKenna and Evin O’Sullivan.

Brian further commented that there were four more crew that turned up quickly: “I am really proud that 11 crew members reacted swiftly today in the help of local fishermen who required assistance at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Youghal RNLI is looking for new volunteer crew members to join its search and rescue service in East Cork.

The lifeboat station will be hosting an open day at the lifeboat station in Youghal this coming Sunday 27 January between 2pm and 5pm where interested candidates can visit to find out more.

Youghal currently has approximately 20 volunteers but is now calling on new volunteers to come forward and find out how they can get involved.

Speaking ahead of the open day, Derry Walsh, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “We are looking for anyone aged 17 years and over who is willing to offer some of their free time to join the RNLI.

“Every volunteer receives first-class training from the RNLI and learns new skills which can benefit them in many walks of life. Lifeboat crew members need to have a reasonable level of fitness, have good eyesight and not be colour-blind.

“Anyone who would like to volunteer but feels they would not meet the requirements for lifeboat crew should in no way be put off, as shore crew also play an essential role in the launch and recovery of the lifeboat when it goes on service.”

If you cannot make the open day but are still interested in finding out more, contact the station directly or email [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

An important piece of Ireland’s maritime history, the 100-year-old Dunleary Lifeboat, is the subject of a new exhibition in DLR LexIcon from this Monday 21 January to Monday 4 February.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this exhibition — which has an open launch this Monday evening (21 January) — is being presented by The Dunleary Lifeboat Project in partnership with students from Sallynoggin College of Further Education.

The Dunleary Lifeboat No 658 was built in 1919 and stationed in Dun Laoghaire Harbour from 1919 until 1937. In that time she saved 55 lives.

This boat is unique as she is the sole survivor of the first 11 production boats dating to this time.

She was the first motor lifeboat provided by the civil service fund and has an excellent wartime rescue history across the Irish Sea at Lytham, south of Blackpool, where she served from 1937 to 1951. She has made a total of 81 launches, saving 85 lives.

The boat was recently brought back from the UK, where she was destined to be scrapped.

A group of local enthusiasts recognised the important historical significance of the vessel and formed a community association: the Dunleary Lifeboat Project.

This group garnered enough support to safely transport the boat back to the Coal Pier in Dun Laoghaire, where she is currently stored.

Their goal is to restore her to full seagoing condition so that she can be used as a heritage asset in the harbour, taking groups of visitors on short historical trips.

The exhibition traces the story of the Dunleary Lifeboat, her return to the harbour, her future as part of Dun Laoghaire’s rich maritime culture, and includes:

  • Display of copies of the building plans, the originals of which are held in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
  • A copy of the earliest photograph of the boat. This original glass plate photograph is in the RNLI Archive collection.
  • Accounts of her initial journey from Cowes to Dun Laoghaire as well as the official launch.

The Dunleary Lifeboat is currently awaiting a final certificate of assessment before restoration and fit-out to her former glory can begin.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 9 of 175

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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