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Lifeboat Services

August storms TWO DEEPENING DEPRESSIONS sweeping in from the Atlantic last summer within a few days of each other brought with them first, on August 9, severe gales with storm force gusts and then, on the night of August 13 and 14, storm force winds rising to violent storm and hurricane, the winds reaching their wildest in the south-west approaches and the Channel. In neither period was the worst of the weather long lived but the unexpected speed with which the storms developed and their arrival atthe height of the holiday and sailing season resulted in exceptionally heavy calls on all rescue services. Large numbers of yachts were caught out in the storms of August 13 and 14 and in the aftermath of moderating gale and rough seas it was some time before all could be accounted for. Notes on the two weather sequences kindly written for us by Peter Shorney of Southampton Weather Centre and lists of lifeboat services during the two periods will be found on the following pages.

* * * In the first period of gales, on Thursday August 9, 15 offshore and 11 inshore lifeboats were launched on service.

Between them, they were at sea for 62.1 hours and rescued 43 people.

Swanage lifeboat, the 37ft 6in Rother./.

Reginald Corah, in fact launched twice in just over six hours, rescuing four people and saving two boats.

Although there were calls at various parts of the coast, the greatest concentration was along the Channel, where the winds were at their strongest. By 0053 Selsey lifeboat had launched; by 0305 Dover. At 0339 Yarmouth Isle of Wight's 52ft ArunJoy and John Wadeslipped her moorings after red flares had been sighted near the Needles, and the lifeboat was able to reach a 26ft yacht just in time to tow her clear of the Shingle Bank, towards which she was being driven before the storm; the yacht and her crew of four were taken back safely to Yarmouth.

An hour and a half later, City of Bristol, Clovelly's 71ft Clyde lifeboat, had slipped her moorings to investigate flares sighted three miles west of Hartland Point. With the help of the lifeboat's ILB, four people were picked up from a liferaft, their swamped and abandoned yacht presumed lost.

Both Walmer's offshore and inshore lifeboats were called out soon after eight o'clock that morning; a 32ft yacht was being driven down fast towards Deal Pier. So imminent was the danger that, without waiting for a full crew, the 37ft 6in Rother The Hampshire Rose was launched over woods laid rapidly across the beach by the head launcher and three other shore helpers.

Although unable to reach the yacht before she swung round broadside on and broached, stern beneath the pier, the lifeboat managed to get a rope aboard and slowly towed her clear of the pierhead. By this time, the ILB had brought out extra crew and between them they were able to transfer a man, a woman and their cat to The Hampshire Rose, which then towed the yacht to Ramsgate Harbour.

At about the same time Torbay's 54ft Arun Edward Bridges (Civil Service No. 37) was slipping her moorings to go to the help of a small sloop 28 miles east south east of the lifeboat station; the yacht's sails had blown out and she had only enough fuel for two hours. A collier, Fletcher, was standing by but in the severe gale force winds and steep seas she could neither take off the yacht's crew nor take her in tow.

Edward Bridges found the little boat rolling her keel out and pitching violently.

It was not considered safe to try to take off her four crew members so the sloop was towed back to Brixham.

The lifeboat had been at sea for ten hours. A letter followed from the yacht's skipper: '/ want to say a proper and very heartfelt thank you to you and all your crew for all that you did for its on Thursday last . . . I can put no estimate of the value of what you did . . . " 1100: Newhaven's 44ft Waveney Louis Marchesi of Round Table slipped her moorings to go to the help of a gaff cutter reported in difficulties 27 miles south of Shoreham. Despite westsouth- westerly winds blowing up to force 9, the Waveney ploughed on through the very rough seas at 12 knots, coming alongside the casualty half a mile east of Greenwich Buoy at 1250. She was taken in tow and her crew of seven, including two children, were landed safely. The lifeboat had been at sea for six hours.

Eastbourne's Rother, The Duke ofKent, took the crew of six off a sinking French trawler in the early afternoon.

A letter came from the French Merchant Marine director at Dunkerque: 'Cette affaire illustre une fois de plus, s'il en etait besoin, la solidarite extremement vivante qui unit les gens de mer du mond entier.' Abersoch's Atlantic 21 launched at 1412 in a northerly gale to help a dinghy reported in difficulty. In fact, a speedboat was able to give this dinghy help, but on her way back to her boathouse the ILB was diverted to help two girls in difficulties in an inflatable dinghy. A man had tried to row out to them, but with an ebb tide and strong offshore wind he, too, was soon in trouble. All three were taken aboard the ILB and the two boats brought in.

Calls continued to come until well into the evening. It had been a wild and busy day. Yet, compared with what was to come four days later, it might almost be regarded as a curtain-raiser.

On Monday evening, August 13, with the swift approach of a rapidly deepening low, the winds were rising dramatically.

During the last four hours of the evening lifeboats were called out at such scattered places round the British Isles as Falmouth, Harwich, Wick, Exmouth (at sea more than five hours; four people rescued and a yacht saved) and Lerwick. But perhaps it was the service at Lyme Regis which was the true harbinger of what was to come.

When Lyme's Atlantic 21 was launched at 1947 to go to the help of a yacht off Beer Head, dragging heranchor on to a lee shore, the southwesterly wind had already risen to near gale force 7 and throughout this 272- hour service the wind was strengthening all the time. Two women and a five-year-old boy were taken off and brought back to Lyme, while one ILB crew member joined two men aboard the yacht, got her engine going and, with shortened sail and with the ILB back again as escort through the wild seas, brought her safe to harbour.

Meanwhile, as night came on, the worst of the weather was building up further west in the south Irish Sea, with next morning the south-westerly storm force winds veering to west north west and gusting up to hurricane force 12.

The seas, with a fetch right across the Atlantic funnelling into narrowing waters, were not only treacherously short but also very high and breaking. Furthermore, for some hours while the storm gathered its strength, the tide was against the wind, adding its own quota of aggravation to the troubled seas.

And across that 150-mile stretch of sea between Land's End and the Fastnet Rock off the south of Ireland was strung out the international Fastnet Race fleet of 303 yachts, including three-boat teams from a number of countries competing for the Admiral's Cup, one of the premier international offshore yachting trophies. Although the majority of the yachts weathered the storm and came safe to harbour unaided, 85 of them in fact finishing the race, it was soon known that some were in serious trouble and grave anxiety was felt about the safety of the whole fleet.

The first indications that the. racing yachts might be in trouble came at 2130 when it was learned that two boats were making their way to Cork; half an hour later a message came from the Fastnet Rock itself; the light keeper telephoned the honorary secretary of Baltimore lifeboat station at 2205 reporting a boat in trouble near the rock and asking that the lifeboat be launched. On the English side of the Irish Sea the first intimation of trouble came shortly after 0200 on Tuesday August 14 when Land's End Coastguard heard on Channel 16 VHP that Magic was dismasted and was taking heavy seas.

A massive combined search and rescue operation was soon in full swing, co-ordinated by the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) at Shannon in Ireland and HM Coastguard Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Land's End. During the next 36 hours great endeavour and endurance was to be shown by lifeboatmen from both sides of the Irish Sea, by naval helicopter crews from RNAS Culdrose together with RAF and Irish Air Corps helicopter crews, by RAF Nimrod crews, by the crews of naval and merchant ships and fishing boats of different nationalities in the area and indeed by the crews of the yachts themselves, some of whom went to the help of other boats even at the cost of putting themselves in jeopardy. The Netherlands warship HNMS Overijssel, which was acting as guardship for the racing fleet, and HMS Anglesey were on scene throughout the worst of the storm.

Thirteen lifeboats, coming from both sides of the Irish Sea, took part in the operation, towing in or escorting 20 yachts and rescuing 60 lives. But, to start at the beginning in the late evening of Monday, August 13 ...

Baltimore's 47ft Watson The Robert was the first to launch, following the call from the Fastnet Rock, and she was to be at sea for ten hours on this first call. On launching at 2215 the southerly wind was fresh to near gale, the sea rough, but the wind was soon to veer to south west and rise to severe gale force 9 with very high seas. The lifeboat searched the area near the Fastnet Rock, keeping in touch with the keeper, but could find no boat. Itwas thought she must have gone in to Schull. On her way back to station, The Robert received a message from MRCC Shannon asking her to go to a yacht south east of Fastnet. She found Regardless and, after great difficulty in the very high seas, got a rope on her and towed the yacht with her crew of nine to Baltimore, arriving at 0815 on Tuesday.

The crew remained standing by on board and, a request having come from MRCC Shannon, The Robert launched again at 0905 to go to the help of Marionette, rudderless, south east by south of the Stags. When the lifeboat eventually found the yacht, at 1445, she was 25 miles south by west of Galley Head. Marionette with her crew of 12 were towed back to Baltimore, arriving at 2100, nearly 12 hours after the lifeboat's second launch. The lifeboat was rehoused and ready for service at 2230.

Sir Samuel Kelly, the 46ft 9in Watson relief lifeboat on temporary duty at Courtmacsherry, launched at 0240 on Tuesday August 14 to go to the yacht Wild Goose reported to be 27 miles south of Old Head of Kinsale, but at 0320 she was diverted to the yacht Pepsi, reported to be 30 miles south of Galley Head. Full power was maintained but with the seas on the bow, a westgoing stream and winds between force 9 and 10, it was only possible to make 6.5 knots. The reported position of Pepsi was reached at 0840. There being no sign of her, a square search was started but, effective visibility being poor because of the height of the seas, air support was requested. During this search two other yachts were sighted and checked but were found to be under full control.

At 1000 the yacht Casse Tete V, with a crew of ten, reported the loss of her rudder 26 miles south of Galley Head and Courtmacsherry lifeboat diverted to intercept her. At the expected time of interception, 1125, there was still no sign of the yacht. The two boats were, however, in VHP radio contact; the lifeboat fired parachute flares, the yacht gave her a bearing and, setting a reciprocal course, the lifeboat soon sighted Casse Tete. An approach was made abeam to windward and the tow passed by heaving line. At 1145 course was set for Courtmacsherry but due to the violent yawing and surfing of the rudderless yacht and the westerly severe gale, only 2.3 knots were possible.

Station was reached shortly aftermidnight after a 12-hour tow and the lifeboat, which had been at sea altogether for nearly 22 hours, was once again made ready for service.

Courtmacsherry lifeboat had only been at sea a matter of minutes when, at about 0300, Ballycotton on one side of the Irish Sea and St Mary's on the other were also on their way in weather now deteriorating towards the full storm.

Joseph Hiram Chadwick, the 52ft Barnett relief lifeboat on temporary duty at Ballycotton, slipped her moorings at 0255 and escorted the yacht Accanito six miles into Cork. She then returned to sea to search for Wild Goose. At 1200, however, the lifeboat sighted the yacht Ossian, dismasted, and took her, with her crew of six, in tow back to Ballycotton, arriving at 1915. The lifeboat was once again made ready for service and the crew remained on stand by for a further eight hours.

St Mary's lifeboat, the 46ft 9in Watson Guy and Clare Hunter set off at full speed from the Scilly Isles at 0300 to go to the help of Magic, 40 miles north west of Round Island Lighthouse.

While on passage two yachts were passed, both under storm jib but under control. When the lifeboat was 32 miles north west of Round Island, at about 0800, a helicopter reported a dismasted yacht about seven miles downwind.

Course was altered to see if she was Magic, but half an hour later it was learnt that she was a different yacht and that all her crew had been taken off. At 1045, while the search was continuing, the yacht Victride was sighted; she was making heavy weather but all appeared well. At 1108, however, this yacht asked for help and St Mary's lifeboat returned. Victride''s main hatchwas split and she was taking water but, escorted by the lifeboat, she was able to head for St Mary's. The two boats were 47 miles north north west of Round Island, the wind was violent storm force 11 and the sea very rough.

At 1120 the yacht Pegasus called St Mary's lifeboat asking for escort. She did not appear to be in immediate difficulty so was given a converging course and radio contact maintained. Another yacht carrying no sail was sighted at 1325; she had been knocked down twice but did not require help. During this passage Victride broached to and was knocked down twice, recovering each time. The lifeboat was continuously shipping heavy seas and on one occasion a sea ran straight through the wheelhouse and floated three crew members who were 'sheltering' in the lee of the wheelhouse clean off their feet and away. However, they were wearing safety lanyards and no one went over the side.

Pegasus was in company at 1800 and at 2000 the lifeboat was alongside at St Mary's together with the two yachts.

But only for a little while. Half an hour earlier the Coastguard had reported the yacht Festinia Tertia in difficulties 12 miles west by north of Round Island.

Only waiting to refuel (the job was done by shore helpers while the crew changed into dry clothes) St Mary's lifeboat put to sea again. At about 2100 Festinia Tertia's position was reported to be three miles west of New Grimsby entrance; she was sighted by the lifeboat at 2125, taken in tow and brought to St Mary's, arriving alongside at 2320. The lifeboat returned to her station and was once again ready for service at 2355. Altogether she had been at sea for nearly 21 hours.

Sennen Cove's 37ft 6in Rother lifeboat Diana White was launched at 0706 into storm force west-north-west winds and very rough seas to search for two yachts 60 miles north west of her station. However, as a helicopter was able to look after these two casualties, at 1100 she was diverted to search for the yacht Azenora II about 11 miles to the south east. Nothing was sighted and at 1300 she was recalled to refuel.

She arrived at station at 1630 and was rehoused and ready for service at 1930.St Ives lifeboat, the 37ft Oakley Frank Penfold Marshall, which had originally launched five minutes before Sennen Cove lifeboat, at 0701, to go the yacht Gremalken was homed in by a Nimrod aircraft to a disabled yacht which turned out to be Azenora II: she was a French yacht taking part in a single-handed race from Kinsale to Brittany and had been drifting with her mast broken for 48 hours. She was taken in tow to St Ives, arriving at 1635. The lifeboat was rehoused and ready for service at 1800.

Dunmore East's 44ft Waveney lifeboat St Patrick set out at 0908 to join the search for Wild Goose, at that time reported 52 miles south of the lifeboat station and drifting at five knots. St Patrick was making about 12 knots in the heavy seas and while under way was given a new position for the casualty of 45 miles south of Mine Head. At 1225 she heard that the service vessel Gulf Link 18, already in the area, had picked up seven survivors from a yacht and was continuing to search for Wild Goose. At 1425 Gulf Link 18 reported that she had Wild Goose in tow for Cork Harbour with seven on board.

At 1545 St Patrick sighted the yacht Korsar and later spoke with yachts Autonomy, which was without steerage, and Juggernaut, which had no power or lights and whose boom was broken. Towing Autonomy, with eight on board, and escorting J/ erm , St Patrick arrived back at Dunmore Harbour at 0030 on Wednesday August 15.

She then returned to sea to escort in two more yachts. She was refuelled and ready for service at 0145.

Padstow's lifeboat, the 48ft 6in Oakley James and Catherine Macfarlane, set out at 1904 on August 14 to take the station's honorary medical adviser to the yacht Tamasin II, one of whose crew members was injured. By now the wind had moderated to westerly gale force 8 but the sea was still very rough.

The lifeboat reached Tamasin II at 2007 and escorted her back to Padstow, putting the doctor and a crew member on board once they were inside Stepper Point. The yacht was placed on moorings in the harbour, but as soon as the lifeboat reached her station she was called out again to take over the tow to Padstow of the yacht Tarantula from the French trawler Petit Poisson. The lifeboat returned to sea yet again to help the yacht Mosika Alma and was finally back on station and once again ready for service at 1345 on Wednesday August 15.

Even though the winds had started to moderate later on Tuesday August 14 they were still gale force and there were still a large number of yachts which had not been sighted and from whom no message had been received, and two lifeboats from outside the area were drafted in to help with search: the 71ft cruising Clyde lifeboat City of Bristol from Clovelly and the 52ft fast afloat Arun Elizabeth Ann from Falmouth.

City of Bristol had slipped her moorings at 1000 to help a family cruising boat which, with father, mother and three children on board, had suffered a knock down and was in difficulty; she was escorted into the shelter of Lundy Island from where, at 1520, the cruising lifeboat headed south west towards Land's End to join the search. During the following night the need to refuel and make an emergency engine repair took her into Newlyn, but by 1905 on Wednesday August 15 she was once more at sea, searching the coast up towards Lundy.

Elizabeth Ann, which had already been out once on service that day, set out at 2212 on Tuesday August 14 to search west of Scillies. On passage she passed five yachts, checking that all was well and passing all information to the Coastguard at Land's End. She arrived in the search area at 0620 on Wednesday August 15 and, steaming close to HMS Broadsword, was asked to patrol and search from her present position, 42 miles north west of Scillies, to Scillies and Land's End. At 0725 she was asked by Broadsword to investigate a yacht sighted by a helicopter 12 miles west of Bishop Rock. On her way to this position Elizabeth Ann sighted, checked and reported two other yachts and then, at 0904, came up with the yacht for which she had been looking, Big Shadow. Big Shadow, which was now seven miles west of Bishop Rock, had lost her rudder and was using a sail trailing astern to steer by. Big Shadow was towed in to St Mary's at about 1053 and, after refuelling, the lifeboat was at sea again by 1205. Rendezvousing with Broadsword at 1525, she took over the tow of Golden Apple of the Sun, abandoned and rudderless. As the lifeboat needed to return to Newlyn to refuel it was agreed that she should take the yacht with her, but that she should be released from the tow if a distress call came. During the tow the tow rope parted and was re-secured twice by lifeboat crew members who boarded the yacht.

Elizabeth Ann arrived at Newlyn at 0115 on Thursday August 16. The yacht was secured and the lifeboat refuelled; then while some crew members stood watch, others rested. Soon after 0900 the lifeboat set out for her station, at the request of the Coastguard invest/- gating one or two yachts on her way.

All was well, however, and Elizabeth Ann reached her station at 1232 and was once more on her moorings, refuelled, at 1430.

At 0105 on Wednesday August 15, Angle lifeboat, the 46ft 9in Watson Richard Vernon and Mary Garforth of Leeds, launched to escort the yacht Caval into Milford Haven, returning to sea to escort in the yacht Animal. She returned to station at 0615. That morning, at 0050, the 52ft Barnett relief lifeboat Euphrosyne Kendal on temporary duty at the Lizard-Cadgwith, launched to rendezvous with a German coaster, Nanna, and take off two survivors from the yacht Ariadne. The two men were landed into the care of the Mission to Seamen at 0155. At 0415 on Thursday morning August 16 Penlee lifeboat, the 47ft Watson Solomon Browne launched to take over the tow of the dismasted yacht Gan from the coaster Marianna V; she was towed to Newlyn, arriving there at 0645. The lifeboat had returned to her own station and was rehoused by 0745.

As can be seen from the lists of services, a number of other offshore and inshore lifeboats launched between 1800 on August 13 and 1800 on August 16, and the services were by no means only to yachts; there were cargo vessels, fishing boats, people cut off by the tide, swimmers, even rubber dinghies.

In all, during that period lifeboats gave335.8 hours service at sea and 96 lives were saved. The brunt of the storm, however, had been taken in the south west where the search and rescue operation had been an example of fine and dedicated co-operation between highly skilled seamen and airman, given full support from the land.

Many letters of thanks and appreciation were received by the Institution following the Fastnet storm. One from a racing yachtsman just said: '/ participated in the Fastnet Race.

Happily we arrived home without assistance and in one piece; but my skipper and fellow crew members just want to say a respectful "thank you".' South Eastern Division Injured climber SWANAGE COASTGUARD requested the launch of Swanage lifeboat at 1710 on Saturday June 16, 1979, to go to the help of a seriously injured cliff climber at Ragged Rocks, some quarter of a mile west of Anvil Point. Maroons were fired and at 1720 the 37ft 6in Rother lifeboat J. Reginald Corah launched down her slipway with Coxswain/ Mechanic Victor A. C. Marsh in command. Some three minutes later a message came that a helicopter from the SAR flight at HMS Daedalus had been scrambled and was on her way.

The tide was four hours ebb and a gentle to moderate breeze, force 3 to 4, was blowing from west by south. The sea was smooth and visibility good.

At 1734 Swanage lifeboat anchored about 25 yards off Ragged Rocks and lay tide rode while her Avon Redcrest dinghy was inflated and launched.

Crew Member John Corben, a first aider, and Crew Member Christopher Haw, a first aider under training, embarked in the dinghy taking with them a stretcher, two first aid kits, inflatable splints and blankets. They had a difficult passage, rowing between rocks with the ground swell sometimes rising to four feet and both men were soon soaking wet, but on their way in they sighted the casualty on a rocky ledge some ten yards inshore.

As they reached shore they were joined by a skin diver, Patrick Allen, who was in the area with his boat, Colleen.

He swam ashore in his wet suit and, by tending the dinghy lines and giving general assistance to the lifeboatmen, did all that he could to help.

The rock on which the casualty lay.

attended by his climbing companion, was under a sheer cliff with a slight overhang which was obstructing the Coastguard cliff rescue team in its attempts to reach the man from above.

The cliff top, moreover, was unstable so that there was danger of loose rock falling down. One piece did strike Crew Member Haw on his head and back.

but without injury; both lifeboatmen were wearing crash helmets.

The casualty was found to be suffering from serious injuries caused by a large falling boulder. His companion had done what he could for him and the two lifeboatmen dressed his wounds and applied an inflatable splint to his left leg, which was fractured. Then Crew Member Haw rowed back to the lifeboat to report to Coxswain Marsh that as falling rock made it too dangerous for the injured man to be lifted up the cliff by the Coastguard rescue team and the swell made it too dangerous for him to be taken off by the dinghy, it would be best for him to be lifted off by helicopter.

Christopher Haw was just being ferried back to shore by Second Coxswain Phillip Dorey when Wessex helicopter 813, piloted by Lt Ray Colborne, RN, arrived overhead. While her equipment was being prepared, however, it was found that her winch gear was not working correctly. Lt Colborne called for a second helicopter and then, by rigging a jury winch strop and hovering with great skill very low indeed, he managed to transfer helicopter 813's diver and stretcher to the lifeboat. These in turn were ferried ashore by Second Coxswain Dorey.

At just about the same time Swanage honorary medical adviser, Dr William Tudor-Thomas, arrived on the cliff-top.

He had heard the maroons while on medical visits in the town and, on learning the details of the service, had set out at once. Helicopter 813 landed on the cliff top, picked up Dr Tudor- Thomas complete with his medical bag and, once again having to hover very low, put him aboard the lifeboat. He was kitted out in oilskins, lifejacket and helmet and ferried ashore where, at 1810, he took over the care of the injured man from John Corben and Christopher Haw; he later gave high praise to the first aid work that had been done.

Wessex helicopter 811, piloted by Lt Michael Ellis, RN, arrived from HMS Daedalus at 1820. As she did not carry a radio giving SAR VHP channels, helicopter 813 remained on scene to provide a communications link.

The injured man was carefully transferred to the RN stretcher already brought ashore and he was then carried to a large flat rock as clear as possible of the cliff overhang. It still meant that Lt Ellis had to work very close to the cliff but, with immense skill, the stretcher was safely winched into the helicopter, followed by the naval diver.

Dr Tudor-Thomas asked that, rather than delay further to lift him aboard, the helicopter should make all possible speed for Poole.

Helicopter 811 landed at Poole at 1834. The injured man was transferred to a waiting ambulance and taken directly to hospital where, sadly, he died later in the evening.

By 1837 helicopter 813 had been called to help a capsized boat off Portland Bill and Second Coxswain Dorey had started to ferry everyone back from the shore. Patrick Allen to his own boat and the second climber, Dr Tudor- Thomas and Crew Members Corben and Haw to the lifeboat. On the last trip the inflatable dinghy was dashed against a jagged rock in the ground swell and badly punctured but enough buoyancy remained for the occupants to reach the lifeboat safely, though wet.

At 1858 the lifeboat weighed anchor and by 1906 had made the passage back to station, where the climber and Dr Tudor-Thomas were put ashore. The lifeboat was rehoused by 1940 and minutes later was again ready for service.

For this service the thanks of the Institution inscribed on vellum were accorded to Honorary Medical Adviser Dr William R. Tudor-Thomas and Crew Members John E. Corben and T.

Christopher Haw, and vellum service certificates were presented to Coxswain/ Mechanic Victor A. C. Marsh, Second Coxswain/Assistant Mechanic Phillip J. Dorey and Crew Members Walter E. Bishop, Ian P. Marsh and David G. Corben. Letters of thanks signed by Rear Admiral W. J. Graham, director of the Institution, were sent to Lt Ray Colborne, RN, Lt Michael Ellis, RN, and the crews of helicopters 813 and 811; to HM Coastguard Station Officer W. Tolman and the Coastguard cliff rescue team: and to Patrick Allen.

South Eastern Division Collision A COLLISION IN DENSE FOG between MV Futurity and the motorboat Little Slam some three miles south east of Littlehampton was reported to the honorary secretary of Shoreham Harbour lifeboat station at 1510 on Saturday May 12, 1979. Shoreham's 42ft Watson lifeboat Dorothy and Philip Constant launched at 1522 under the command of Coxswain Kenneth Voice. It was four hours after high water, the sea was very calm but visibility was only about 50 yards.

While on her way to the position given, the lifeboat was told by the Coastguard that Futurity had picked up four survivors but that other people were still missing. Littlehampton Atlantic 21 ILB launched at 1600and at 1605.

as there were other fishing vessels in the area helping with the search, the Coastguard asked Coxswain Voice to assume the office of on scene commander.

At about 1622 the lifeboat made radio contact with Futurity, who gave her position as 33A miles south south east of Littlehampton piers; she was all stopped and drifting with the tide. Two minutes later the lifeboat radar suddenly stopped tracing the land mass.

There was, however, just one verysmall trace on the screen. On investigation, Coxswain Voice found that this trace was in fact Futurity. By 1640 the lifeboat could hear the motor vessel's siren and at 1648 she was coming alongside. The four survivors were taken off and it was learned that Little Slam, which had been out with a fishing party, had sunk; five people, including her skipper, were still missing.

Littlehampton ILB had also arrived on scene. The four survivors were transferred to the Atlantic 21 and at 1805, after considerable difficulty, were landed on the beach into the care of the Coastguard; they were taken to hospital for a medical check. The ILB then relaunched and returned to the search.

It was agreed that Coxswain Voice should board Futurity so that, using her radar, he could continue to act as on scene commander. As the motor vessel's master estimated that he had drifted about a mile west from the point of collision, Coxswain Voice decided to continue the search to westwards until low water. Futurity was having difficulty steering at the slow speed, so she dropped anchor one cable south of Winter Buoy while Coxswain Voice continued to co-ordinate the extensive search being made by Shoreham lifeboat, now in the charge of Second Coxswain Kenneth Everard, and fishing vessels Jungfrau and John Seagull.

At about this time, MV Sand Swan, some five miles south south east of the search area, offered her help. Coxswain Voice directed Sand Swan and the three smaller boats to a rendezvous south west of the collision position.

When all four vessels had met, he asked Sand Swan to position the small boats each side of her, about a cable apart, and conduct a search on a course of 055°, the estimated set of the tide at that time.

On the search down tide, three bodies were recovered by Jungfrau and one by Shoreham lifeboat; all were put aboard the lifeboat. Lifebuoys and other wreckage from Little Slam were picked up but one person was still missing.

By 2040, however, in addition to the dense fog it was getting dark quickly and the search had to be called off until daylight.

Littlehampton ILB, which had been back to base once to refuel during the evening, helped John Seagull to find three other fishing boats and then returned to her station. By 2145 she was rehoused and ready for service.

As the offshore lifeboat was six miles east north east of Futurity, and as Sand Swan was bound for Shoreham and could escort the lifeboat with her radar, it was decided that rather than go back for her coxswain, Second Coxswain Everard should take her straight back to station. Coxswain Voice was put ashore at Littlehampton by Jungfrau and returned to Shoreham by car in time to meet the lifeboat on her arrival at about 2345.The fog was still very thick and, as another call might well come during the night, it was arranged through HQ that the Decca engineer should come from Newhaven at once to repair the lifeboat's radar. It was working again by 0230 and the lifeboat was rehoused and once again ready for service by 0245.

A further extensive search was made the next morning for the missing man, but without success.

For this service a letter of appreciation signed by Cdr Bruce Cairns, chief of operations, was sent to Coxswain Kenneth Voice and his crew.

South Eastern Division Canoes HEARING AT 1335 on Saturday May 26, 1979, that a canoe had capsized off Dover, Coxswain/Assistant Mechanic Anthony Hawkins informed Dover Port Control that he and a crew member who was with him were going to the boathouse to stand by. Authority to launch was obtained from the honorary secretary and maroons fired, so that, at 1344, just after red flares were sighted off the western entrance to the harbour, Faithful Forester, the 44ft Waveney lifeboat at that time on station at Dover, was slipping her moorings and on her way.

A near gale, force 7, was blowing from the south south west giving a moderate sea and swell. The afternoon was overcast with frequent rain squalls in which visibility was poor. It was !3/4 hours after high water.

At 1355, realising that there were a number of canoes needing help, Coxswain Hawkins asked for helicopter assistance, and a Wessex was scrambled from RAF Mansion. Meanwhile the lifeboat reached a group of four canoeists who had rafted themselves together about two cables off the western breakwater. They were rising and falling some six feet in the rough sea and confused swell caused by waves rebounding off the breakwater. A heaving line was thrown to the outboard canoeist and as the four canoes were drawn close alongside the lifeboat Coxswain Hawkins and Crew Member Michael Abbott grabbed the nearest canoeist, a young girl, while Crew Members Garth James and David Williams grabbed the man in the next canoe; both were brought safely aboard the lifeboat although the lift was made more difficult by spray canopies fastened to the canoes.

At that moment the fourth canoe on the outside of the 'raft' rolled over to seaward three times, failing to right from the third roll. Realising the man was trapped, Garth James, himself a one-time canoe instructor, jumped from the lifeboat into the water and righted the canoe. The third canoeist was snatched from his craft into the lifeboat by Crew Members Roy Couzens and Michael Abbott, while the fourth canoeist was similarly rescued by Crew Member Williams with Garth James helping from the water. David Williams then helped Garth back into the lifeboat which was rolling heavily, her well awash.

At 1359 Dover Port Control told the lifeboat that three more canoes had been sighted a little further out to sea and she headed for them at best possible speed. Two canoeists, who threw overboard their paddles and spray covers to help the lifeboatmen, were taken from their canoes. The third canoeisthad by this time paddled to join a lone companion and together they were making their way through the eastern entrance to the safety of the harbour.

The Wessex helicopter arrived at about this time and from then on acted as 'spotter'. Dover lifeboat took over the escort of two more canoeists from Dover Harbour patrol boat and saw them safely ashore at St Margaret's Bay, while the patrol boat, on her way back to harbour, rescued another two canoeists.

The lifeboat entered harbour at 1500 and landed the survivors; one, suffering from shock and hypothermia, was sent to hospital by ambulance. Ten minutes later the lifeboat put to sea again with extra crew members, successfully recovered five of the abandoned canoes and brought them back to station. At 1555 Faithful Forester was back at her moorings and ready once more for service.

For this service a framed letter of thanks signed by the Duke of Atholl, chairman of the Institution, was sent to Crew Member Garth V. James. A letter of appreciation signed by Rear Admiral W. J. Graham, director of the Institution, was sent to Coxswain Anthony G.

Hawkins and his crew.

Western Division Fall from cliff THE DEPUTY LAUNCHING AUTHORITY of Abersoch ILB station was informed by HM Coastguard at 1701 on Thursday August 23, 1979, that a boy had fallen from the cliff at Llanbedrog Head, two miles north east of the station. The Atlantic 21 launched at 1715 manned by Helmsman Gareth Hughes Jones and Crew Members Barrie McGill, Caradog Roberts and Noel Loughlin and ten minutes later had reached the base of the cliff.

Three of the crew left the boat and climbed up to where the nine-year-old boy, who had fallen from about 150 feet, was lying, and Helmsman Hughes Jones decided that his injuries were sufficiently serious to require his removal by air.

A helicopter was scrambled from RAF Valley at 1725 and arrived overhead at about 1745. At 1500 the casualty was winched aboard, followed three minutes later by his mother who accompanied him to Bangor Hospital.

The ILB returned to station and was refuelled and again ready for service by 1835.

For this service a letter signed by Rear Admiral W. J. Graham, director of the Institution, was sent to A. T. G.

Owen, the Abersoch station honorary secretary, conveying the Institution's appreciation to Helmsman Gareth Hughes Jones and his crew.

North Eastern Division Wading neck high TWO SMALL BOATS trying to enter Cullercoats Bay were seen at 1645 on Saturday April 14, 1979, by ILB Crew Member Christopher Blackman, aged 19, and his 16-year-old friend Jeffrey Storey.

It was a fine day with a light easterly sea breeze but a heavy swell was breaking over the north breakwater producing an undertow which swings around the tiny bay hugging the cliff sides. It was spring tides and half an hour after high water so that little of the beach was left uncovered.

The first boat, about 20 feet in length, entered the bay and headed for the beach, but the powerful swell carried her away towards the cliff. Seeing what was happening, Christopher Blackman and Jeffrey Storey immediately went to her crew's help and managed to beach the boat close to the lifeboat house.

The second boat, seeing the first boat ashore and not knowing how she had reached safety, tried the same tactic.

She was lifted on the crest of a wave, which carried her and her two crew swiftly towards the steep cliff and caves. Trying to avoid a head-on collision with the cliff, the helmsman turnedthe boat and capsized. Boat and crew were driven into a small cave in the cliffside where they were buffeted by the waves.

Regardless of their own safety, Christopher and Jeffrey plunged straight into the water and waded neck high through the breaking waves to the nearside of the cave, where a spur of rock runs out into the water. After several attempts they managed to climb on to the spur, pass a rope to one young survivor, haul him clear and push him up the cliff and out of danger. They tried to haul the other survivor clear in the same way, but were washed off the spur time and again. While they were still trying, the Coastguard Land Rover arrived and its crew managed to lower a longer and stronger rope to the man in difficulties and pull him clear.

When the survivor reached safety Christopher Blackman and Jeffrey Storey returned to the beach. Although they made little of the part they played, they had been in constant danger for about half an hour.

For this service framed letters of thanks signed by the Duke of Atholl, chairman of the Institution, were sent to Crew Member Christopher Blackman and to Jeffrey Storey.

North Western Division Injured fisherman LIVERPOOL COASTGUARD informed the honorary secretary of Barrow lifeboat station at 2232 on Monday July 16, 1979, that there was an injured crew member aboard the motor fishing vessel Vertrouwen, 18 miles west of Walney Island and heading for Barrow.

The honorary secretary telephoned the honorary medical adviser, Mr J. H.

Kilshaw, FRCS, and the crew assembled.

Meanwhile it was learned that the fisherman had had both legs trapped in a winch.

Barrow's 46ft 9in Watson lifeboat, Herbert Leigh, launched at 2300 and set out to rendezvous with the trawler at a position off Walney Island. The night was fine with good visibility. A moderate to fresh breeze, force 4 to 5, was blowing from west north west and the sea was moderate. It was one hour before low water.

While the lifeboat was on her way it was decided that a helicopter should be called in from RAF Valley, Anglesey.

Vickers Ltd manned Walney Airfield and the local ambulance and hospital were alerted.

The lifeboat came alongside the trawler six miles west north west of Lightning Knoll Buoy and the HMA went aboard her with two crew members.

The injured man was placed in the Neil Robertson stretcher and, after some discussion between the pilot and the doctor, winched up directly from continued on page 247Lifeboat Services from page 230 the trawler. He was landed at Walney Airfield at 0102 and transferred to North Lonsdale Hospital.

The honorary medical adviser and two lifeboat crew members remained aboard the trawler because of the sea conditions and both boats returned to Barrow; then the three men were transferred back to the lifeboat off the station and the trawler went on to her mooring. The lifeboat was once again ready for service at 0240.

For this service a letter of appreciation signed by Rear Admiral W. J.

Graham, director of the Institution, was sent to Mr J. H. Kilshaw, honorary medical adviser of Barrow lifeboat station.

South Eastern Division Thick fog THE HONORARY SECRETARY of Dover lifeboat station received a call from HM Coastguard at 1649 on Saturday May 12, 1979, telling him that a motor boat had been reported aground but that the sighting was being checked. Just over an hour later, at 1759, came confirmation that a motor cruiser was aground on rocks in the vicinity of Copt Point, Folkestone, and it was requested that the lifeboat should launch.

Although there was little wind or sea thick fog had reduced visibility to nil. It was one hour before high water.

Folkestone Coastguard mobile had gone to investigate, but could see nothing from the land.

Faithful Forester, the 44ft Waveney lifeboat at that time on station at Dover, launched immediately with Coxswain/ Assistant Mechanic Anthony Hawkins in command. Search was joined with Folkestone pilot launch and Folkestone Yacht and Motor Boat Club safety boat, but in the dense fog the stranded boat could not be found. The lifeboat, searching round the rocks with her radar, put her dinghy ashore with three crew members who checked on shouts heard, but it was found that the shouts came from bait diggers. The dinghy party remained ashore, how- Regattas for model lifeboats Sunday, April 27: Kingfisher Model Powerboat Club Regatta, Farnborough, Hampshire. Information from Keith Bragg, telephone number Fleet 28504.

Sunday, June 15: Crosby and District Model Club's National Model Lifeboat Rally and Regatta, Coronation Park, Crosby, Liverpool. Information from Des Newton, 29 Westminster Avenue, Bootle 10, Merseyside L30 5QY.

ever, and with Folkestone mobile and the Coast Rescue Company, formed three separate search parties. It was not until about 2000 that the casualty, Al Rosanjo, was eventually sighted by an auxiliary coastguard.

The lifeboat, having recovered her dinghy, closed the casualty and light lines were passed to her. The boat was high and dry and Coxswain Hawkins ordered an inspection of her hull to see if she could be taken in tow; her three crew could not reach safe ground and it was considered too hazardous to embark them on the lifeboat.

The tide was rising; when there was enough water, at about 2145, the lifeboat passed a tow line to the motor cruiser and two lifeboatmen were put aboard her. She floated off at about 2200, was found to be sound and was taken into Folkestone Harbour. Her crew were put ashore at 2230 and by 2335 Dover lifeboat was once again back on her moorings and ready for service.

For this service a letter of appreciation signed by Cdr Bruce Cairns, chief of operations, was sent to Coxswain/ Assistant Mechanic Anthony G. Hawkins and his crew.

Scotland South Division Overdue LATE ON THE EVENING of Thursday June 14, 1979, Fife Police informed Forth Coastguard that a flashing light was being investigated in Largo Bay and that a 9ft dinghy with three anglers on board had been reported overdue.

Police and Elie Coastguard mobile started a search ashore and at 0019 on June 15 the help of Kinghorn D class ILB was requested. Vessels in the area were asked to keep a sharp lookout for the missing dinghy.

It was a bright moonlight night, so that visibility was fair. A moderate breeze, force 4, was blowing from the north east, the sea was choppy and the tide was low water springs.

Manned by Helmsman F. Boston and Crew Member G. Tulloch, Kinghorn ILB launched at 0040 and had reached Largo Bay 20 minutes later.

By 0234 a helicopter from RAF Leuchars was airborne and the tide had risen enough for Anstruther lifeboat, the 37ft Oakley The Doctors, to launch.

An initial research area was established between the lines Methil to Fidra and Bass Rock to Elie Ness and a coordinated search was begun by Anstruther lifeboat, HMS Stubbington, the lighthouse tender Pharos and the helicopter, while Kinghorn ILB continued her search of Largo Bay and the adjacent coastline. North Berwick Coastguard lookout was manned and Dunbar mobile searched the coast from Dunbar to Fidra.

At 0458 HMS Stubbington reported the recovery of two bodies a few milesto the north west of Bass Rock. A thorough search was made of the area and at 0720 North Berwick D class ILB was launched to search Craigleith Island, Bass Rock and the North Berwick foreshore. No sign was found of the missing third man, however, and at 0753 the search was abandoned.

Lifeboat and ILBs returned to their stations, Kinghorn ILB being once more rehoused and ready for service at 0820, North Berwick ILB at 0850 and The Doctors at 0920.

For this service a letter signed by Rear Admiral W. J. Graham, director of the Institution, was sent to Dr R. M.

L. Weir, honorary secretary of Kinghorn ILB station, conveying the appreciation of the Institution to Helmsman F. Boston and Crew Member G. Tulloch, who were at sea, engaged in the search for survivors, for more than seven hours.The weather: The following notes on the passage of the severe gales and storms of early August were kindly prepared for THE LIFEBOAT by Peter Shorney of Southampton Weather Centre: The first signs of the depression which led to the strong winds on August 9 showed as a small disturbance at 50°N 40°W at midnight GMT on August 7.

Twenty-four hours later it had moved to 53°N 26°W without much change in central pressure. However by midnight on the 9th it had moved into Ireland and the central pressure had dropped to 999mb. It continued to deepen for the next 12 hours by which time the pressure at the low centre had dropped to 994mb and was positioned over the Straits of Dover. During the 36 hours from midnight on August 8 the low had changed from an almost innocuous disturbance to a fully fledged depression centre and the winds flowing around this centre were quite strong especially in the southern quadrants. Gusts of over 50 knots were recorded at the Needles (58) at Portland Bill (50) and Dover (54). Another marked feature of the winds were that they were very gusty especially on the western flank of the depression. This gustiness rather than the actual speed of the wind probably accounted for the distress caused to small boats. Subsequently the depression centre moved across the southern North Sea into the Low Countries and from then on gradually filled.

The depression which caused storm force winds in the sea area Fastnet during the night of August 13 to 14 developed from a small disturbance which formed over the eastern United States in the early hours of August 10. This small depression which became known to meteorologists as 'Low Y' came quickly forward without much deepening to reach 25°W by 0600 GMT on August 13 with a central pressure of 1002mb. From here onwards the dynamical state of the atmosphere favoured development and it deepened rapidly during the next 18 hours, becoming a small intense depression near south west Ireland with a central pressure of 979mb by midnight.

By this time strong south to south-west winds were affecting the south-west approaches and the Fastnet area. The centre then turned towards the north east and the Fastnet area was affected by south-west winds which increased to storm force 10 south of the centre. These winds quickly veered to the west north west as 'Low Y' moved north east across Ireland and the rapid changes in wind direction are likely to have added to the confused and dangerous state of sea reported by so many yachts. Winds started to moderate during Track of depression 'Low Y' from 1800 GMT on August 11 to 1200 GMT on August 14.

Chart for 0600 GMT on August 14: height of storm.

the late morning of August 14 and this process of moderation continued as the low centre moved across Scotland later in the day.Date and time of service 9.8.1979 0053 0305 0339 0508 0552 0637 0805 0817 0830 0840 0938 1057 1100 1322 1342 1713 STATION Seise y Dover Yarmouth Clovelly Swanage Aldeburgh Plymouth Walmer Torbay Walton and Frinton Harwich Swanage New haven Eastbourne Fleetwood Weymouth Hours CASUALTY at Lives People sea rescued landec Yacht Mayfly 2.6 Yacht Samantha 0.6 2 Yacht Hot Ice 1.8 4 Yacht Sweet Annett 2.5 4 Yacht Mary Clare 1.7 Cabin Cruiser Cresta 2.3 2 Cabin Cruiser Zanadu II 3.4 Yacht Jewel 4.7 2 Yacht Contessa Gabriel 10.1 4 Yacht Zenia 3.5 1 Yacht Vitalba 2.5 Trimaran Trivia , . 4 Speedboat Yacht Dorothea 6.0 7 Trawler Saint Marcouf 3.9 6 Dinghy 1.8 Yacht Lucy Grey 5.0 2 Vessels Vessels Services rendered saved helped 1 Gave help 1 Saved boat and rescued 1 Saved boat and rescued Rescued 4 None Rescued 2 1 Escorted boat Saved boat and rescued Saved boat and rescued Saved boat and rescued 1 Gave help Saved boat and rescued Saved boat Saved boat and rescued Rescued 6 None 1 Saved boat and landed 2 2 4 2 4 1 4 7 53.9 36 Services of inshore lifeboats on August 9, 1979 Date and time of service 0605 0839 0915 1300 1304 1412 1533 1741 1940 1955 2228 Hours STATION CASUALTY at sea Stranraer Walmer Southwold Poole Morecambe Abersoch Staithes/Runswick Tenby Bangor Arran (Lamlash) Trearddur Bay Yacht Silver Minx Yacht Jewel Yacht Cresta in tow of Aldeburgh 1LB Yacht Dinghy Rubber dinghy in tow of rowing boat Persons cut off by tide Rubber dinghy Rowing boat Rowing boat Cabin cruiser 1 0, 0, 1.


1 0.





2 .9 .3 5 .7 .0 1 3 1 .3 .8 Lives People Vessels Vessels rescued landed saved helped 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 1 Gave Gave None Saved Services help help rendered boat and rescued 2 Rescued 2 Saved None None None Gave None boats and help rescued 3 8.2Date and time of service 13.8.1979 2008 2130 *2215 2235 2328 2334 14.8.1979 *0240 •0255 "0300 0405 *0701 *0706 *0905 •0908 0934 1000 1103 1125 1300 1625 1735 1755 1856 •1904 2030 2143 *2212 15.8.1979 *0050 *0105 1225 1821 *1905 2230 2256 2300 2335 16.8.1979 *0415 0908 1030 1340 1425 1500 1737 STATION Falmouth Harwich Baltimore Wick Exmouth Lerwick Courtmacsherry Harbour Ballycotton St Mary's Fowey St Ives Sennen Cove Baltimore Dunmore East Humber Clovelly Torbay Skegness Bridlington Scarborough Dover Falmouth Walmer Padstow Yarmouth Plymouth Falmouth Lizard-Cadgwith Angle Dunmore East Dover Clovelly Fowey Youghal St Peter Port Padstow Penlee Falmouth Baltimore Sennen Cove Arklow Penlee St Helier Hours CASUALTY at Lives People Vessels Vessels Services sea rescued landed saved helped Flares Yacht Quiet Moment Yacht Regardless Fishing boat Celosia Yacht Sharima Flares Yacht Wild Goose Yacht Pepsi Yacht Casse Tele V Yacht Accanito Yacht Wild Goose Yacht Ossian Yacht Magic Yacht Victride Yacht Pegasus Yacht Festinia Tertia Unidentified distress signal Yacht Grema/ken Yacht Azenora 11 Yachts Yacht Marionette Yacht Wild Goose Yacht Autonomy Yacht Juggernaut Two yachts Yacht Vanity Fnir Yacht Eurlhmil Men cut off by tide Yacht Xanthe Yacht Mavis M Fishing Vessel Sincerity Yacht Yacht Missing youth Yacht Injured man on board Yacht Tarnasin 11 Trawler Petit Poisson Yacht Tarantula Yacht Mosika Alnui Yacht Seaweed Yacht Keinvor Yacht Big Shadow Yacht Golden Apple of the Sun Survivors of yacht Ariadne Yacht Caval Yacht Animal Yacht and sailing dinghy Cabin cruiser Santa Maria Yachts Flares Flares Flare Catamaran Palnkina Yacht Can Yacht Tacita and another Yacht Kayuka Cargo vessel Fordonna Yacht Sundowner Cargo vessel Fordonna Yacht Ar Men Gwen 1.8 None 4.8 1 Gave help 10.0 9 1 Saved boat and 2.7 None 5.4 4 1 Saved boat and 6.4 None None 21.5 None 10 1 Saved boat and 1 Escorted boat 16.4 None 6 1 Saved boat and None ,,„ , 1 Escorted boat 1 Escorted boat 6 1 Saved boat and 3.7 None q , None 1 1 Saved boat and 9.4 None 11.9 12 1 Saved boat and None , -, 8 1 Saved boat and 1 Escorted boat 2 Escorted boats 9.9 4 1 Saved boat and 1.8 I Gave help 0.9 3 Rescued 3 1 Escorted boat 2 Rescued 2 1.3 1 Escorted boat 1.3 None 6.3 None 3.1 None 4.8 None rendered rescued 9 rescued 4 rescued 10 rescued 6 rescued 6 rescued 1 rescued 12 rescued 8 rescued 4 1 Took out doctor and escorted boa .„ . 1 Gave help 1 1 Saved boat and 1 Gave help 6. 1 1 Escorted boat 5.4 I Gave help ,. ~ 9 1 Saved boat and 1 Gave help 1.1 2 Landed two , -, 1 Escorted boat 1 Escorted boat 1.0 2 Escorted boats 2.3 1 Gave help 12.9 None 2.2 None 3.6 None 3.3 None 8.5 3 1 Saved boat and 3.5 1 Gave help 3.4 None 3.0 2 1 Saved boat and 3.5 1 Gave help 3.5 None 4.8 None 3.2 4 Rescued 4 305.3 83 3 13 23 landed one rescued 9 rescued 3 rescued 2 *Detwtes Fastnet Race Casualties..