Friday, 23 March 2007


A lifeboat is a very personal thing. Like a person they have character, foibles and whimsical ways. For some time now we have had a relief lifeboat. On paper no less capable than the Robert Charles Brown, in practise like a pair of shoes worn in by someone else; the throttles stick, guard rails are too tight, searchlights too loose, stowages in different places, she’s more sluggish, possibly slower and altogether less ‘ours’.

Delighted we are then that the time is approaching for the Robert Charles Brown to return. Yesterday Dave travelled to Cowes, IOW, for her first post-refit sea trials. By all accounts they went well. It can certainly not be denied that she looks the business. The process now is that any identified defects will be put right prior to her final acceptance trial. Once this is over, providing she is accepted, she will make the passage back to Swanage to take over from the relief boat.

For us this passage and changeover is a simple affair, a drive to Poole, train to Southampton, ferry to Cowes and then drive her home. Spare a thought for stations which are further from their refit facilities. For them the passage can take some days to complete. These passages are the stuff of legend and almost always pass into the annals of station history, “do you remember that time in Fowey when……………” I’m sure you can fill in the spaces!

So for the next few weeks we will gradually re-acquaint ourselves with our station boat. An old friend to be appreciated and admired, enjoyed and respected for her particular, unique qualities. A veritable springtime in our lifeboating year.

Here's Dave's report on his day yesterday:

Morning . .

1. Only I went.
2. Not bad, it was the first of the 4 hour snagging trials and the first time the engines had been run at full throttle since they were put back in the boat. There's still a lot of cleaning to do and about 4 x A4 pages of snagging, that's normal apparently. She seemed to run well although none of the VHFs would work, except the handheld! There was a small oil leak on the port engine but they sorted that at sea.
3. Passout is scheduled for 29th March when the DI, DDE & I will go over and go right through everything. If all goes well I'd like to get her on Mon or Tues 2/3 April so we can do some slip trials in the afternoon at low water.
4. Only new (different) thing is mod to pyrogen system to match what we've got on the relief boat.
5. She's had a full repaint, some FRC repairs, a new radar mast (old one was bent), engine's rebuilt and their power increased to 320Hp, 3 new keels the list goes on!
6. Yes she's in Cowes.
7. There's another 4 hour trial today to get some more hours on the boat.

Think that covers it


Anonymous said...


lifeboatjohn said...

TLA for Fibre Re-inforced Composite, like GRP but with other type of fibre than glass.