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Displaying items by tag: Holyhead

#RNLI - Holyhead RNLI lifeboat volunteers' training turned into a real-life rescue last night after distress calls were heard from a boat carrying three men a baby in the Irish Sea.

At 6pm crew members were at the lifeboat station training when they heard a call for help over the VHF radio. They immediately raised the alarm by calling Holyhead Coastguard, who requested the launch of Holyhead RNLI's inshore lifeboat and asked the station's all weather lifeboat to be on standby.

The inshore lifeboat and its volunteer crew made their way to the Bolivar buoy near Carmel Head, where the 33ft Fairline motor vessel was at anchor and stuck fast.

On arrival, they called for the all-weather lifeboat to assist and Holyhead RNLI's Severn-class lifeboat made her way the scene.

After attempts to free the casualty vessel’s anchor, the anchor warp was severed by crew members to get the casualty vessel moving again, and a buoy was left as a marker before the vessel was towed to safety and delivered to Holyhead Marina.

There were four people on board the boat: three adults and a very young baby. All were unharmed.

Holyhead RNLI coxswain Brian Thomson said: "This call-out emphasised the importance of going to sea prepared – wearing correct lifejackets, having proper flares and safety equipment, knowing the waters into which you are going and knowing how to correctly use VHF radio."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#isora – Racing under the burgee of the National Yacht Club, the third race in the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) 2015 series will start from Scotsman's Bay on the south side of Dublin Bay early on Saturday morning. The Irish offshore fleet is fitted with yellowbrick trackers for the 60–mile race across the Irish Sea from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, an important warm up for next month's Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, also from the NYC.

The reigning ISORA champion Ruth skippered by Liam Shanahan was the winner of April's first race coastal race of the season, a fortnight ago. The NYC J–109 took a six minute win on corrected time from the Irish National Sailing Club Reflex 38 Lynx skippered by Kenneth Rumball. Third in that race was the Arklow Sailing Club J122, Aquelina.

ISORA Race three sailing instructions are downloadable below.

Published in ISORA

#holyhead – Holyhead Coastguard Operations Centre coordinated the rescue of three fishermen last night after their vessel started taking on water at the start of its fishing trip.

At 22.22 yesterday the fishing vessel 'Cesca' reported that it was on route from Milford to Conwy and was taking on water. The crew were using pumps to try and keep the level of water down but they weren't able to keep up with the flow. As the situation was getting worse they called the Coastguard for assistance.

The RAF search and rescue helicopter based at RAF Valley was sent to the scene. Whilst trying to drop more pumps on the fishing vessel the 'Cesca's' engines stopped and the Captain made the decision to abandon ship. The crew were winched by the helicopter and taken to safety.

HM Coastguard Robert Bowyer said:

"It's often a difficult judgement call for any Captain to call for assistance and even more difficult to leave his vessel, which is his livelihood. By calling for assistance when he did the Captain of the 'Cesca' gave the rescue services time to get on scene and try and save his vessel. Although they did have to abandon ship he and his crew are safe and well this morning."

Published in Coastguard
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#coastguard – Holyhead Coastguard Operations Centre (CGOC) is to become part of the new Coastguard national network for the very first time this week.

Work has been carried out at the search and rescue coordination centre to upgrade the technology and introduce new systems. This means Holyhead CGOC will be connected to the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) in Hampshire and other Coastguard stations around the country, which will be able to offer mutual support during busy periods.

From January 2015, Holyhead CGOC and the new national network will start to take on operations from Liverpool Coastguard.

The changes to Her Majesty's Coastguard will see the NMOC and 10 other CGOCs around the UK work together to manage the workload. There will be no reduction in rescue resources. The availability of Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats, rescue helicopters and other rescue units will be unaffected.

Graham Clark, Maritime Operations Controller at Holyhead CGOC, said:

"The way we deliver the coordination of search and rescue operations on our coast and out at sea is changing. But the public won't notice any difference. If you call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, or issue a mayday broadcast, we will still be here to help you.

"The new national Coastguard network will be able to oversee and assist with operations around the whole of the UK. Here at Holyhead CGOC we're now part of this network, so we can call upon help from our fellow Coastguards elsewhere in the country, and also in turn help them out if needed.

"It's vital to remember though that the rescue teams in your community are unaffected. There will still be the same number of lifeboats, Coastguard Rescue Teams, helicopters and other rescue resources."

The new national network is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2015.

Published in Coastguard

#coastguard – Coastguards are this afternoon searching for a 12-year-old boy who is believed to have been swept out to sea at Aberffraw.

Holyhead Coastguard received a 999 call at around 12.30 this lunchtime reporting that three people were stuck on rocks in the estuary. Further information then suggested that two men had managed to make it back to shore, plus a young boy; however another youngster was caught in the large waves and swept out to sea.

The Rhosneigr, Holyhead, Bangor and Moelfre Coastguard Rescue Teams along with two Coastguard Sector Managers are currently involved in the search, alongside the RNLI lifeboats from Porthdinllaen, Holyhead, and Trearddur Bay, the search and rescue helicopter from RAF Valley and North Wales Police.

Published in Coastguard
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Jetski – The UK Coastguard and North Wales Police are reminding people of the dangers of jet skis and personal watercraft (PWC) ahead of what is hoped will be a busy summer in North Wales.

Last summer Holyhead Coastguard dealt with almost 35 incidents involving PWCs. These ranged from mechanical issues, running out of fuel or even concern that PWCs were too close to shore or endangering swimmers.

In one incident a man and a woman suffered serious injuries after two jet skis collided near Porthmadog and over the same weekend a youngster in Abersoch sustained minor injuries after the kayak he was in was struck by a jet ski.

Ray Carson, Rescue Coordination Centre Manager at Holyhead Coastguard, said:

"The majority of PWC users are responsible and often assist us during search and rescue incidents. However, during the summer months we do receive complaints that jet skis and PWCs have gone too fast and too close to shore. This is concerning to us as it's putting swimmers and other beach-goers in danger. You should check if any bylaws are in place, stick to them and be respectful of others in the water.

"You also need to make sure you know how to operate these powerful machines. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the water after being thrown off. This is why we always recommend that you get yourself trained, wear a buoyancy aid and ensure you're using a kill cord, so if you end up in the water, the engine will stop. Remember, if you see anyone in difficulty at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

Dewi Jones, the newly appointed Police Inspector for South Gwynedd, added:

"Incidents involving inappropriate, unsupervised or careless use of sometimes powerful marine craft impact upon all the emergency services when our resources may be required elsewhere. Last summer at least three people sustained significant injuries. Two of those could have been a lot worse. Working with HM Coastguard, RNLI and other emergency services we'd ask that all marine craft users to adhere to safety advice, act responsibly and consider others in the water so everyone can enjoy the pleasures of our beautiful beaches and seas."

Published in Jetski
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#isora – A former steel hulled BT Global Challenge yacht was the winner of a 'punishing' second ISORA offshore race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire on Saturday morning. The 15–boat fleet faced a fetch into 30 plus knots of wind that veered to produce a beat at the end of the 60–miler as the boats apporached the Dublin coastline. See results for download below as a jpeg file.

Conor Fogarty's entry SY 2041' made the best of the Irish Sea's harsh conditions, another good preparation race for next month's 700–mile Round Ireland race

One great ISORA racer and supporter lost its mast on Friday night, just north of Holyhead when heading for the race start area. The Isle of Man based Sigma 33, Polished Manx skippered by Kuba Szymanski ended up being towed to Holyhead by the RNLI.

Holyhead's all weather Severn class RNLI lifeboat launched to the 33ft–yacht dismasted in a force seven gale at 2.20am, according to RNLI sources.

The ISORA entry had got into difficulties eight miles out when its mast broke leaving the vessel 'helpless in huge seas' off the Skerries light. The coxswain asked if the yacht crew were able to cut free the rig as weather conditions made it hazardous to pass lifeboat crew to assist in the big sea swell. This was done and the lifeboat escorted Polished Manx under her own power to Holyhead marina, a journey of some six hours. Holyhead coastguard co-orientated the callout.

Szymanski, who has raced thousands of miles including last year's D2D and Fastnet races, has made contact with ISORA commodore Peter Ryan to say he aims to be back on the startline with a new mast for the next ISORA on May 24th. 'If it can be done, he is the man to do it', says Ryan.

ISORA Race 2 (Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire) Report by Peter Ryan: 

As with Race 1, the weather was not kind to ISORA competitors. Strong and gusty conditions all the previous week with DBSC cancelling their Thursday racing did not encourage those skippers who were considering taking part in the race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire. Although a window of opportunity arose for boats delivering on Friday only 15 boats came to the line at 08.30 on Saturday 10th May. The usual start time was delayed due to shipping movements.
As the boats left Holyhead marina and made their way in the strong and gusty southerly winds to the start line between the pier head an Clipera bouy, they were met by the ominous sight of one of our fellow competitor Kuba Szymanski's "Polished Manx", with no rig, being escorted by Holyhead lifeboat towards the marina. Thankfully all were safe aboard.
There was concern about the weather forecast for the race when the Sailing Committee met on Friday evening at the pre-race soiree in Holyhead sailing Club. After the usual consideration and consultation there was unanimous agreement to make the race as short as possible – from the start direct to the finish.
The forecast for the race was for Force 6-7 south west veering west later and decreasing towards the Irish coast. Some parts of that forecast were incorrect – the wind only moderated for a time and it touched at Gale 8 several times. The race started with a southerly Force 7 and soon most boats had reefed down for the weather. Holyhead boat "Pipedreamer" did not start as they tore their mainsail while putting it up.
Things did not appear too bad as the fleet left the line and headed west towards Dun Loaghaire. Anyway, not until they reached the overfalls and out of the lee of the North Stack!!! Luckily the wind was from the south and allowed most boats to avoid most waves as they broke around them.
Quickly into the lead were the "big boats" "2041" the Challenge 67, "Mermaid IV" Beneteau First 50 and Andrew Hall's J125, "Jackknife". It was the Past ISORA Chairman's first race since retiring from offshore several years ago. Very soon the fleet split into three groups – the "big boats", the three J109's and Adelie and the rest.
Many boats took a southerly course to prepare for the veering wind. However the wind, that varied in strength from 18 to 34 knots, did not appear to have read the forecast. When the boats were only 20 miles off Dun Laoghaire there was no sign of the westerly wind. Most boats then took a more northerly course toward the finish.
Then as the leaders approached the Kish bank, the squalls appeared and with them driving rain and veering winds, resulting in a beat for the last 15 miles to the finish for most boats.
There was close racing is all the groups. At the front, "Jackknife" just squeezed over the finish line for line honours with only 90 seconds separating them from "2041". The J109's had a close match all during the race with positions being changed between them several times. The three J109's "Ruth", "Mojito" and "Sgrech" were never more than a few hundred metres apart at any time. When they were forced to beat towards the end of the race, there was separation. "Ruth" managed to nose 60 seconds ahead of her level rated opponent "Sgrech" as they crossed the finish line. "Mojito" finished 90 seconds behind "Sgrech"
"2041" took the Overall and Class1 win while "Adelie" took Class 2. "Yahtzee" took the Silver Class.
The tired, wet and battered crew made their way back to the National Yacht Club for the usual "après sail" and the regular discussion about "Why in God's name do we race offshore???"
Those crew off boats who did not compete, followed the race using the AIS trackers. Facebook commentary on the progress of the race was provided by, past two handed and currently one-handed offshore sailor, Liam "Lula Belle" Coyne and also by Andrew "Jedi" Sarratt. The commentary demonstrated the potential effect of the tracking for the general public interest in the offshore racing. Only four boats managed to successfully use the "Predictwind" tracker. As the tracking is becoming a huge part of the offshore racing scene. A big push will be made to get more boats "activated" for the next race.
The next race takes place on the 24th May and acts as a feeder to get boats some of the way towards Liverpool for the Liverpool – IOM – Dun Laoghaire weekend on the first weekend in June.

Published in ISORA

#RNLI - Holyhead RNLI volunteers are coming together to mark the 10th anniversary of their all-weather lifeboat that safeguards waters familiar to many an Irish ferry passenger.

To celebrate the milestone, the volunteer RNLI crew have commissioned a decorative bell paying tribute to each volunteer who has served aboard Christopher Pearce.

The bell will be unveiled to the volunteer crew who will also receive an anniversary glass this Wednesday 18 December.

Launching 205 times since entering service at Holyhead, Christopher Pearce - the only Severn class lifeboat of her kind in Wales - has rescued 307 people.

A total of those 11 people rescued owe their lives to the volunteer crew and would not be celebrating Christmas this year had Christopher Pearce not come to their rescue.

The vessel – which is named after Christopher Pearce, who bequeathed the money before his death in 1997 – has seen some unique, challenging and difficult rescues during its 10 years on station.

In 2006 the all-weather lifeboat saw some of its most unusual rescues. A swan-shaped pedalo drifting in a busy shipping lane 25 miles out to sea required their assistance during the summer. 

Then two young Irish men who stole a fishing trawler to sail home across the Irish Sea after missing the last ferry required their assistance after sailing in circles around the Anglesey coast.

In 2007, the all-weather lifeboat was launched to the large vessel Smitt Cymran which had hit rocks and was sinking seven miles out of Holyhead. The five people were lifted off by RAF sea king helicopter. The volunteer lifeboat crew worked hard to keep vessel afloat.

More recently, in 2011, Christopher Pearce was launched to assist other North Wales lifeboats in searching for missing men after the cargo ship Swanland sank. 

The volunteer crew had to contend with Force 9 winds into a very rough and confused sea. Two crew members were rescued alive from the ship but five other crew members were never found.

"Ten years does not seen like a long period of time," commented Holyhead RNLI lifeboat press officer Ray Steadman, "but the changes Holyhead RNLI has seen over the years have been phenomenal.

"We’ve seen the introduction of new lifejackets and training is more intense than ever before. We’ve seen people come through the door as youngsters develop into fully fledged competent crew members. Single people walked through the door who are now married, with families of their own but the commitment is still as strong as it ever was.

"Ten years on, these people still appear in freezing conditions, the cold and the rain to drop everything they are doing to help people in trouble at sea. At Christmas or any other time of the year, that’s the level of commitment required to become an RNLI volunteer and we are looking forward to celebrating that dedication."

Full-time coxswain Brian Thomson, who has led his crew through some difficult rescues, added: "Since Christopher Pearce arrived on station she has served the volunteer crew exceptionally well. We have seen some challenging and unique rescues in difficult conditions, but myself and the crew have every confidence in their lifeboat which has grown during the last decade when she has battled gales and rough seas.

"As people around the country prepare for Christmas, we have our own very special cause for celebration in Holyhead and will felt it was only right to mark the occasion with a lasting reminder of those who have served on our much-loved lifeboat Christopher Pearce

"The specially commissioned bell is a gift from all the crew to each other which reflects how life boating is all about teamwork and having trust in one another."

A second lifeboat, financed by a legacy from Pearce's brother Andrew after his death in 1988, is stationed at Llandudno and is named Andy Pearce.

The men's mother, Diana Pearce from Cheshire, asked for the money left by her son Christopher to be specifically used for the Holyhead lifeboat, remembering the holidays the family enjoyed in North Wales when the boys were younger.

When the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry sank in the English Channel in 1987, the government and the RNLI agreed that a fast Severn class lifeboat should be at every major ferry port. Holyhead was one of the last stations in the UK to have the improved vessel stationed there - but it is the first in Wales. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#ferry – Irish Ferries is to increase its capacity and frequency on the Dublin to Holyhead route through the introduction of a third ship in December 2013.

Currently, the ferry company operates eight sailings per day on the key Irish Sea route using its flagship Ulysses and the High Speed Craft Jonathan Swift.

Irish Ferries has chartered the Epsilon (2011 built ) to supplement its existing Ireland to Britain services. The ship will provide two additional departures per day in each direction which will result in an increase in the company's schedule to a maximum of twelve sailings between Dublin and Holyhead each day. The recently built vessel will provide significant vehicle capacity along with modern facilities on board including cabins, bar/cafeteria and self-service restaurant.

Targeting the growing Freight and Tourism markets, the Epsilon will further improve Irish Ferries' range of offers to its customers on the Irish Sea. In addition to the improved frequency on its Dublin to Holyhead route, the chartered vessel will also provide opportunities for improved annual dry-dock cover within the company's fleet along with scope for increased capacity on other Irish Ferries' Irish Sea and Ireland to France services.

Commenting on the announcement, Irish Ferries' Marketing Director, Tony Kelly, said, "Irish Ferries decision to invest in additional capacity at this time is a major vote of confidence by the Republic of Ireland's leading ferry operator in the recovery of the country's economy. We believe that Ireland has turned the corner and we are prepared to invest in the provision of improved services for our valued Freight and Tourism customers who have shown fantastic loyalty throughout the last five difficult years."

Name: 'Epsilon'
Built: Delivered 2011, Cantiere Navale Visentini, Italy
Flag: Italy (IMO No. 9539054)
Length Overall (LOA): 186.46 metres
Free Height: 4.87 metres main deck
Beam: 25.6 metres
Draft: 6.85 metres
Maximum Speed: 24 knots
Passenger Capacity (PC): 500 plus crew
Cabins: 68 x 4 berth + 2 x 2 berth (disabled)
Vehicle Deck Capacity: Approx 2,860 lane metres

Published in Ferry

#RNLI - Holyhead RNLI's inshore lifeboat launched in the early hours of yesterday morning (28 October) to help recover a man from the harbour in severe hypothermic condition.

  1. volunteers took the male in his late twenties from the water in the inner harbour at 4.40am after a member of the public heard the cries for help from his bed and alerted rescue services.

On arrival, the man was hanging onto a rope and face down near the water in the inner harbour of the Irish Sea port, a busy terminus for ferry crossings from Ireland to Wales.  

The volunteer crew lifted him onboard the lifeboat and quickly transferred him to a waiting ambulance and coastguard team. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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