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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Clifden RNLI were tasked by the Irish Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon (8 June) to a distress signal received from a personal locator beacon (PLB) registered to a 50-foot yacht that had been activated some 13 miles west of Slyne Head.

Clifden’s all-weather and Atlantic 85 lifeboats both launched along with the Aran Islands lifeboat and the Shannon-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 115.

En route the lifeboats received updated information that the lone sailor had become trapped in his generator room. The boat had rolled hard to her beam and the door slammed shut.

He had already spent approximately two hours trying to open it and was very worried as the boat was on autopilot so he activated his PLB to raise the alarm.

Shortly afterwards he managed to free himself and immediately called Clifden Coastguard to inform them that he was okay, and that he had activated his PLB as at the time he had been in grave and imminent danger as he was not in control of his boat.

The lifeboats were requested to proceed to the casualty’s location and make verbal/visual contact with the skipper. He confirmed that he had been in a perilous position when he was trapped and the boat was indeed adrift and heading towards hazardous shoreline.

He was very relieved to learn that the rescue services were coming to his aid and he then made his own way into Clifden Bay.

Coxswain James Mullen said after the launch: “This really showed the value and importance of wearing a PLB as this skipper was totally trapped aboard his own boat and in grave danger.

“Luckily, his decision to carry this vital piece of safety equipment and then to activate his PLB meant that we were able to go to his aid and thankfully a much worse scenario was avoided.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI brought three sailors to safety yesterday morning (Sunday 9 June) after their 10-metre yacht got fouled in ropes off Wicklow Head.

The all-weather lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater put to sea shortly before 10am under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh, following a launch request from the Irish Coast Guard.

The yacht, with three people on board, was located at 10.12am about two-and-a-half miles south-east of Wicklow Head. Conditions on scene had a slight sea state and good visibility.

Lifeboat volunteer Alan Goucher was transferred onto the yacht to assess the situation and assist with the towline.

The yacht was taken in tow back to Wicklow Harbour and brought safely alongside the East Pier at 11.10am.

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Baltimore RNLI carried out a medevac last night (Friday 7 June) from Cape Clear Island off the coast of Baltimore in West Cork.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 6.20pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide medical assistance and evacuation to an islander living on Cape Clear.

The lifeboat arrived at North Harbour in Cape Clear within 20 minutes, and was headed back to the mainland with the casualty on board after just a two-minute turnaround.

By just after 7pm the casualty had been handed over to the care of a HSE ambulance crew in Baltimore.

Conditions at sea during the call out were good, with a north-westerly Force 4-5 wind, a one-metre sea swell and very good visibility.

Speaking following the callout, lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “If you find yourself in a medical emergency whilst on an island call 999 or 112 and explain to the operator what the nature of the call is.

“The operator will then make sure that the call is directed to both the coastguard and the National Ambulance Service. We wish the casualty a full recovery.

“Our thoughts today are also with the family, friends and colleagues of the crew members of the French lifeboat service SNSM who lost their lives yesterday during a rescue.”

There were seven volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat on this callout: coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Jerry Smith, Kieran Collins, Pat Collins, Colin Rochford and David Ryan. Assisting at the boathouse in Baltimore were Gerald O’Brien, Aidan Bushe and Don O’Donovan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

New Clifden lifeboat volunteer Ashling Sweeney has her first callout earlier this week to a fisherman whose boat drifted out to sea after engine failure.

At 3.40pm on Tuesday 4 June, Clifden RNLI was requested to launch its all-weather and inshore lifeboats to assist the nine-metre fishing vessel with one onboard just east of Turbot Island in Co Galway.

Clifden’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Joyce King, helmed by Daniel Whelan and with four volunteer crew onboard, launched first and made good time to the fishing vessel, which was drifting south.

The fishing vessel was quickly taken under tow back to Clifden pier as Clifden RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched to provide backup.

Weather conditions on scene had a north-west winds of Force 5-6 with a slight sea.

Speaking following the callout, new volunteer Ashling Sweeney said: “This was my first callout for Clifden RNLI today and I was happy to gain the experience of putting my training into action.”

Around the same time on Tuesday, Youghal RNLI in East Cork were requested to launch to an eight-metre yacht adrift in the harbour with no people onboard.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat in a moderate north westerly breeze and were with the yacht within minutes.

On arrival, the crew determined that the yacht was dragging its mooring. A crew member boarded the yacht and cut the mooring line before the crew established a tow and bought the yacht safely back to the pontoon were the coastguard were waiting to assist.

Derry Walsh, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “As we approach the summer season, we would remind sailors and boat owners to ensure the appropriate safety, engine and fuel checks are completed ahead of any trip as well as ensuring vessels are safely secured on their moorings.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Going out to sea has always had a certain level of risk attached to it. When a boat breaks down and starts to drift out towards America or worse towards a rocky shore, help has not always been close to hand writes Alex Blackwell. It used to be up to the local community to mount a rescue or recovery – if, that is, news got through to them and if there happened to be a boat available. Two-way radios were scarce and mobile phones had not even been dreamt up yet.

So it was in the mid-seventies when the Mulloy Brothers went out fishing only to be shipwrecked on one of the islands in Clew Bay when their engine failed. Word went out about the incident, but it was ‘spring’ low tide and most boats were high and dry. Two local boats did make it out, a punt and a larger motorboat. The brothers were ferried out to the larger boat and disaster was fortunately averted.

Mayo sailnig club membersMayo Sailing Club members and the Lifeboat crew enjoying an evening after sailing at the MSC clubhouse in Rosmoney

Efforts were made right after this incident to get a lifeboat for Clew Bay, where there were numerous part-time fishermen and the Clew Bay Oyster Co-operative had just been formed. Mayo Sailing Club had also just been formed, heralding the advent of an ever-increasing fleet of sail and power boats on the bay. It wasn’t however until twenty years later, in 1995, that the RNLI station at Kildavnet, Achill Island was established.

Mayo Sailing Club has been going strong ever since it was founded. With over 300 members and more than 60 boats in the harbour, MSC members love to get out on beautiful Clew Bay and beyond. Along with the fishermen in and around Clew Bay, MSC members very much appreciate knowing that the RNLI and Coast Guard have their backs. At a recent event, they gladly reached into their pockets and €1,000 was raised for the RNLI.

"Mayo Sailing Club is delighted to be associated with and support the RNLI Achill lifeboat. It is a tremendous asset and reassurance to have them here on possibly Europe's most isolated, rugged, but beautiful coastline. Well done and thank you all those who voluntarily give their time to this," Duncan Sclare, MSC Commodore

“As leisure users of the great seas that surround us it is important that we support a safe and responsible use of this fantastic resource. The RNLI are the agency of first response to boats in distress. We plan to never need to use the maritime rescue services, however, we have the security of knowing that the RNLI will react to requests for assistance and our donation is a small recognition of the great service provided by this voluntary organisation,” Conn Lavelle, MSC Sailing Secretary.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Both Crosshaven and Kinsale RNLI lifeboats were launched at 11am this morning (Sunday 2 June) to assist a 17’ boat with one person on board, broken down off Roberts Cove in a strengthening Force 6/7 westerly wind.

The angling boat 'Deora De’ was nearby and responded to the distress call and took the casualty vessel under tow towards Crosshaven and met with Crosshaven lifeboat a mile South of Roches Point. Due to the poor Sea state and in agreement with the skipper of the 'Deora De', they continued the tow to Roches Point and calmer water before handing over the tow to the lifeboat who then brought the vessel into Crosshaven. Kinsale lifeboat was stood down when the Coast Guard were aware of the 'Deora De’s' intervention.

"A 17’ boat with one person on board was broken down off Roberts Cove in a strengthening Force 6/7 westerly wind"

The lifeboat was crewed by James Fegan with Molly Murphy, Susanne Deane and Jenna O’Shea. Shore crew were Mick Canty, Jonny Birmingham, Derek Moynan, Vince Fleming and Sandra Farrell.

Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Jon Mathers commented that the arrival of the angling boat ‘Deora De’ so quickly helped a situation that could have been catastrophic as the casualty boat was only 100 metres from the rocks and had an anchor which was dragging, compounded by the vessel being anchored by the stern into the weather. We would like to note our appreciation to the Skipper of the ‘Deora De’ for his timely intervention.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI has a close-knit group of volunteers, both crew members and fundraisers, with a strong family ethos and team approach to ensure everyone plays their part to help saves lives at sea on the east Co Antrim coast.

Recently, one of these volunteers — Barry Kirkpatrick, a local teacher — completed his assessments to qualify as an RNLI all-weather lifeboat coxswain.

“Being an RNLI volunteer is a big commitment but working alongside like-minded people, to help those in distress at sea, is very rewarding,” Barry said.

“It’s very much a team approach at Larne RNLI with a fantastic camaraderie within the crew.”

The commitment to the lifeboat isn't only measured in the time spent involved in rescues, but also in the essential weekly training scenarios.

The volunteers in Larne RNLI, who come from all walks of life, train six times per month to ensure they are fully trained on all aspects of rescues including keeping up to date with new and evolving equipment.

With only one in 10 lifeboat crew members having professional maritime experience, the charity’s comprehensive competency-based crew training is vital to saving lives at sea.

And when the pagers do go off, volunteers are ready to drop everything as they’re called away from their families, their beds and their work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Our crews train extensively across a broad spectrum to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be a member of the lifeboat crew,” says Larne RNLI coxswain Frank Healy. “This means giving time and dedication to meet the requirements.

“This was realised recently when Barry, after long, intensive and wide-ranging training, was passed out successfully as an all-weather lifeboat coxswain. A great achievement for Barry who is a very valuable asset to Larne station.”

In 2019 Larne RNLI is celebrating 25 years of local volunteers providing its rescue service to the Larne area. Over the last 25 years, Larne lifeboats have launched 514 times, saving 34 lives and rescuing 454 people, with an average of 21 shouts a year.

To celebrate the work of volunteers and the support the local community have provided, Larne RNLI are holding an open day at the lifeboat station on Olderfleet Road on Saturday 22 June from 12pm-4pm.

Everyone is welcome to come along, meet the volunteers and enjoy a fun-filled day with a BBQ, bouncy castles, our mascot Stormy Stan and lots more.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Ree RNLI Volunteers assisted in the reach of a suspected missing person who had become separated from the jet ski they were on.

Yesterday, 2 June 2019 at 7.05pm the Irish Coast Guard in Malin Head tasked Lough Ree RNLI together with Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 118 and other agencies on Lough Ree including Athlone Sub Aqua Club, Lough Ree Sub Aqua Club and Roscommon Civil Defence to search for a person who had called for help after falling from their jet ski. The location of the casualty was unknown and conditions on the lake at the time were very rough with strong winds from the south-west.

All agencies conducted an extensive surface and aerial search for a number of hours with nothing to report. The Irish Coast Guard stood the search down at 10.30pm.

Speaking after the search was stood down, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Tony McCarthy said: “If you are using the lake you should always carry a means of communication, either VHF radio or mobile phone and ensure if they are not waterproof that you have them in a watertight bag so you can call for help easily if and when needed.”

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The latest in RNLI lifeboat technology was delivered to Clogherhead in County Louth yesterday and was welcomed to its new home by hundreds of people who turned out from the town and surrounding areas. Clogherhead RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat is unique in the RNLI’s fleet as it has been funded by an Irish legacy, named after an Irish lifeboat volunteer, designed by an Irish engineer and is the first class to be called after an Irish river. The Michael O’Brien Shannon class lifeboat arrived to a sunny Clogherhead at exactly 13.31 hours, the operational number of the lifeboat. 

The Shannon lifeboat is the latest in a long line of boats provided by the RNLI to Clogherhead over the past 120 years. The €2.5 million lifeboat and its launching rig represents a major investment by the RNLI in the station and moves it from a 15-knot lifeboat to a 25-knot one, cutting vital minutes off the time it takes for the lifeboat crew to reach a casualty.

RNLI Shannon 7The RNLI’s latest lifeboat arrives at Clogherhead, County Louth. The €2.5 million Shannon class lifeboat is jet driven and can be beached intentionally for recovery from the sea. Picture: Patrick Browne

A significant proportion of the funding for the Clogherhead lifeboat has been provided through a generous legacy by Wexford farmer, Mr. Henry Tomkins, who was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI. Henry stipulated that a lifeboat be named for his long-time friend, the former Arklow RNLI Coxswain, Mr. Michael O’Brien. The Shannon lifeboat was designed by Derry man Peter Eyre who as child was rescued by Lough Swilly RNLI in Donegal.

The new lifeboat arrived at Clogherhead after leaving Poole in Dorset earlier in the week. On its way to its new home the lifeboat crew stopped in Brixham, Newlyn, Milford Haven, Howth and Arklow, the latter as a tribute to the man who the lifeboat is named in honour of, former Arklow Coxswain Michael O’Brien. Approaching the beach at Clogherhead, the vessel was flanked by lifeboats from neighbouring RNLI stations, Howth, Skerries and Kilkeel, who created a flotilla for the watching crowds.

"It will also be the first time in Ireland that the RNLI will use a SLARS to launch & recover a lifeboat"

The new lifeboat is jet driven which gives the vessel increased manoeuvrability. It will also be the first time in Ireland that the RNLI will use a SLARS (Shannon Launch and Recovery System) to launch and recover a lifeboat. The SLARS acts as a mobile slipway for the lifeboat and has a unique turntable cradle, which can rotate the lifeboat 180º, ready to be launched again within ten minutes.

Clogherhead RNLI Coxswain Tomás Whelahan said, ‘ We were thrilled with the welcome we received on our journey home in our new Shannon class lifeboat. I want to thank the many people who came down to Clogherhead to see our arrival, which made it an incredibly special homecoming. We have had a great week with the new lifeboat, getting to know it and seeing what it can do on the open sea. It is a wonderful piece of kit, very different to our Mersey class lifeboat, faster and more technologically advanced.’

‘We are honoured to receive this lifeboat and very grateful to our donor Henry Tomkins and to the local communities, who by their generosity, have made this day possible. We hope to bring many loved ones safely home in this new lifeboat, the Michael O’Brien.’

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This weekend’s Bundoran RNLI Soapbox Race will no longer be going ahead on Sunday 2 June due to poor weather forecast for the region.

In a statement, the organisers said: “It is with regret that we have decided to cancel this Sunday’s soapbox race event.

“Following consultation with weather charts and Met Éireann, the forecast is not favourable to run an event outdoors. For the comfort and safety of our volunteers, participants and spectators the organising committee has made the difficult decision to cancel the event.

“We are sorry to cause any disappointment, particularly to those who have already built soapboxes. We would like to thank those who had volunteered their time to help out at the event.

“Our annual flag day street collection will go ahead on Sunday and we thank you in advance for your generosity and continuing support of Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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