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Displaying items by tag: Returns to St Helena

#Ports&Shipping – An emergency on board the Royal Mail Ship RMS St. Helena forced the return of the ship to St Helena Island in the South Atlantic yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The passenger-cargohip returned to St. Helena, a UK overseas territory, due to an emergency on board, according to the St. Helena Government.

It is thought the emergency involved a sick passenger who was disembarked offshore yesterday morning. Following the transfer and associated operations which took almost two hours to complete, RMS St. Helena made her final bow to St. Helena before resuming service.

The 6,787 gross tonnage ship is currently making the final ever sailing with the return leg of the round trip voyage to Cape Town, South Africa.

The original ‘scheduled’ departure from St. Helena took place on Saturday off Jamestown, the island’s capital amid much fanfare and emotion. St. Helenian’s or ‘Saints’ as they like to call themselves bid farewell to RMS St. Helena for the final time and which involved a flotilla circle the ship in Jamestown Bay.

It was on the proceeding Friday (9 February) – the day having been declared a public holiday by Governor Lisa Phillips, that the main day of the farewell celebrations took place on the Seafront lining the capital that included the RMS’s ‘Crew Parade’

A large crowd turned out to celebrate 27 years’ service of the RMS St Helena (or the ‘RMS’ as affectionately known by the ‘Saints’). Many of the islanders took advantage of the limited free tickets to attend the RMS Open Day and visit the ship for the last time.

Speeches were given by the Governor, Captain Williams, and Director of St Helena Line, Kedell Worboys MBE to highlight the historical signifance of the day. Added to the officiallity, throughout the day entertainment and activities were held for all ages.

Live performances from an Irish duo, the Kudos, and local band, Island Politics, kept the crowd engaged late into the night that was rounded off with a fireworks display. In addition the releasing of Chinese lanterns which lit the night sky above the RMS St Helena which wowed the crowds of onlookers on that historic occasion. For photos and further coverage click here.

The passenger-cargoship, only one of two to hold the title of ‘Royal Mail Ship’ has been a loyal servant in providing a dedicated island-lifeline with the rest of the outside world. Both passengers and cargo having been transferred to and fro by lighters and tenders to Jamestown.

The dynamics of such operations changed dramatically with the opening in October last year of the first island airport that has connecting flights to South Africa through Johannesburg. Such services are a game-changer not only for Saints but a boost to tourism along with business opportunities, however there are those you lament the end of the RMS. 

As Afloat previously reported, a cargo-only service by sea will still be maintained when a containership is scheduled to begin service next Wednesday, 21 February. The ship M.V. Helena and operated by AW Ship Management is to make monthly calls at St Helena over a twelve-month period and four calls to Ascension.


Published in Ports & Shipping

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.


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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