Saturday, 30 June 2007

Fiddlers Green

Have you ever wondered what happens to old lifeboats when they get replaced? In the case of Inshore Lifeboats they often get used for a period of time in the relief fleet or in the training fleet. In the case of our old 'D' class 'Phyll Clare', she went over to Poole to be used in the training fleet. As 'D' class bloats are the most plentiful in the fleet this is also the largest training fleet at Headquarters. The photo here shows them tied (extremely neatly I might say) alongside the pontoon ready for the next class. It certainly couldn't be said that they don't earn their keep. I guess that pound for pound they are the best value lifeboat in the fleet and provide for very cheap rescues.

As I walked by the dockside one evening so fair
To view the still waters and take the salt air,
I heard an old fisherman singing this song,
Won't you take me away boys, my time isn't long.
Wrap me up in my old oilskins and jumpers,
No more on the docks I'll be seen,
Just tell me old shipmates I'm taking a trip, mates,
And I'll see you someday in Fiddler's Green.

(John Connelly)

Friday, 29 June 2007


After a shout or exercise both boats are treated to a very thorough washdown both on the upper deck and on the hull. A fairly straightforward routine: bucket, warm water, carwash (with polish in it) and sponge. On completion, a hose off to get rid of the suds. After this the boats are hauled back into their sheds where they stay till they are needed again. Not surprisingly the boats look great on this and more crucially, suffer from far less corrosion than other boats. I wonder how many other boats are treated this well? I know none of mine are!

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Caught out

Yesterday was a busy day. At 12.45pm our pagers went off for the first time. 'Launch request Coastguard' was quickly followed by 'Launch ILB'. I kept driving to the boathouse, whatever the boat required we all turn up and help out where needed. By the time we arrived at the boathouse the situation had resolved itself; a dinghy in Studland bay which had capsized was now out of danger and the occupants were ashore. All's well that ends well.

At 2.15pm we were paged again. Again it was an ILB shout. This call was again caused by the strong SW wind. This time a member of the public had spotted a small grey inflatable dinghy with 3 people onboard drifting out to sea from the Northern end of Swanage Beach. The ILB quickly located the dinghy virtually back on the beach under The Pines Hotel. The 3 males onboard had had a hard paddle back to the shore against the wind and tide and had drifted a long way down the beach. The Lifeboat remained with the casualties until Swanage Coastguard arrived to give them some sea safety advice. With the situation now in hand the Lifeboat was released to return to station. Again, all's well that ends well.

There is though a lesson to be learnt from this. Both were situations caused by sunny conditions and strongish offshore winds. In these conditions it is ever so easy to underestimate the conditions. Standing on the beach one is sheltered from the full force of the wind by the cliffs, hence one thinks there is less wind than there really is. The enticing sparkles where the sun catches the sea look inviting from the beach but are, in reality, large white-capped waves. I've been there and made these mistakes so I know from first hand experience.......sunny days can catch you out. And please, don't presume that these were trivial shouts or a waste of our time.........people die in these exact same circumstances each year. Don't let it be you............Stay safe!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Life's a drag or, on the pull.

I've previously said somewhere that one of the most thankless jobs on the crew is the shorecrew role. Imagine.......your pager goes race to the boathouse (obviously observing all speed limits and road traffic laws on the way) then wait to be picked to crew one of the boats. If you aren't you are left with a skin full of adrenaline and little to do by way of using it up. Sometimes those left behind slip off home because they have other important things to do. Others hang around and find ways of amusing themselves until the boat returns. If it's a long shout this can be a pretty dull wait.

Once we have a rough idea of when the boat will return then there are a few jobs to be done in is to pull the winch cable to the bottom of the slip, link up the haul up span and coil the heaving rope. Pulling the cable down is a pretty heavy job and, it gets harder the further down the slip you go (as you are pulling more cable).

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

They did it!

Fancy spending 24hrs in a liferaft? I'm sure that I don't. Indeed a couple of hours during a training course at headquarters had me swearing at the respect for them has been renewed following this exploit. They only went and spent 24hrs in a liferaft over the weekend..........silly beggars! Anyway, well done guys, you have done us proud. Above and beyond the call of duty. Still, as they say, if you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined. Thanks.

Rogue's gallery

No lifeboat station would be the same without crew photos. Station archives tend to be a bit ad hoc, however, I've yet to visit one where crew photos are not present. Ours is now something like 5 years out of date and the make up of our crew is surprisingly different. Hence Martin wishes to re-do it. This time he wants to include all station personnel, including boathouse attendants and fundraisers. A great idea I think. Our team is, after all, far larger than just the sea going crew. So, now that our boat is back, on the 15th of July Martin wishes to gather the Swanage lifeboat clan: crew, shore crew, DLAs, LOM, Boathouse attendants, Fundraisers and anyone else involved. Of course these things are almost always complete chaos from start to finish so I intend to be there with my camera to record the this space!

Monday, 25 June 2007

Big brother.......

Allegedly 20% of the worlds CCTV cameras can be found in Britain. That is nearly 1/2 A million and increasing by about 15% every year. Supposedly each person in our democracy is captured by cameras something like 300 times a day. Indeed, seldom can one be more that a few hundred metres from a camera at any one time. It's not surprising then that we as a lifeboat are frequently captured on camera without us knowing. Not, obviously on CCTV cameras (although there are 2 on the cliffs on our patch), but by members of the public who are watching our shouts and exercises. Every now and then we get sent one of these photos and some are very good. The latest offering from a Mr Jol Mitchell is superb. It shows RCB en-route to rescue a craft off St aldhelm's Head on the 18th of June. The only problem is that Blogger is misbehaving and wont allow me to post it just now! I'll keep this space.

Friday, 22 June 2007

A Sobering Thought

The crew have recently been made aware of an incident that happened during a dutch lifeboat shout. It took place on the 1st November 2006, local weather stations reported stormforce 10 gusting hurricane force 12 Beaufort. The 18.8m class Ameland lifeboat 'Anna Margaretha' was requested to launch, there were four crew on board. They were requested to assist with 'Cementina' a cement bulker that had been so damaged by waves that navigation had become impossible, and damage to the anchor winch meant that anchoring was not an option.

As the lifeboat drew closer, the waves were building with steep breakers reaching an estimated height of 15m. Virtually head to sea the, the lifeboat is making no headway. A breaker hits on the starboard bow, throws the lifeboat beam to sea and, and rolls her over to port completely. After a slight hesitation the lifeboat rights herself. Just as the coxswain has checked everyone is still on board and restarted the engines, the lifeboat is knocked and capsizes a second time. This happens one more time, by now the crew are fairly battered and only the starboard engine was working.

At 0847 hours the lifeboats position vanished from the screens of the MRCC. All calls went unanswered. A helicopter was immediately called for assistance.

At 1019 hours a phone call was received from one of the crew members whose mobile phone had survived the ordeal. The helicopter was dispatched to their location whereby one crew member was winched off and the remaining three crew drove the boat home.

Lots of lessons have been learnt and reports have been written, in general, the dramatic events confirm what the crew had already concluded: 'the boat saved our lives.'

It makes you think!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

It's a Beautiful Thing!

We're a close bunch, it's not surprising really we spend a lot of time together, whether we're on exercise or on a shout, on one of the boats or on the shore at the boathouse. We have one thing in common we are all passionate about the lifeboat. In fact the Lifeboat tends to dominate most of our conversations..................well, you're either in it or you're not!

Every organisation has its politics, there are times when we love each other, there are times when we get fed up with each other, but at the end of the day it's because we love being part of the crew and we feel so strongly about what the RNLI does, we are all volunteers after all. Ultimately we will be there for each other no matter what. One thing is certain no matter how we are feeling if there is a shout we can put our feelings aside and pull together, the day we can't, is the day we need to re-evaluate the way we do things.

Our family is wider than just the crew, which means that we also have a whole host of other people to talk all things lifeboat, there are the guys who have been on the crew in the past, avid supporters, wives, girlfriends, children, even dogs.....we certainly all very fond of the lifeboat dogs Shi and Ben who frequent the boathouse when their owners are out on a shout.

"Don't worry you will find the answer if you let it go
give yourself some time to falter
But don't forgo knowing that you're loved no matter what
and everything will come around in time"

Sarah McLachlan and Pierre Marchand

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

What's a guy like you, doing in a place like this?

The question that I most frequently get asked about the lifeboat is:

"What made you want to join the crew?"

My reason for joining was that I was inspired by the work that the lifeboat crews do, I love and respect the sea, but I'm not afraid of it. I guess I wanted to offer what I could.

Everyone has different reasons for joining, I questioned a few of the guys and here are their reasons in their own words:

Dave "My Dad was on the crew and he asked me if I wanted to join, the station was just about to get its first D class, so they needed a few extra crew, I was one of eight new crew that joined at the time. "

Matt "My Dad was a member of the crew when I was born, I was christened on the old lifeboat the Rother with my cousins James and Gary, I basically grew up at the boat house.. I guess it was inevitable."

Kev "I used to be a volunteer lifeguard at Studland beach, one day we had a serious incident, the lifeboat, coastguard and helicopter were all involved. After that I had a chat with one of the lifeboat team who said I'd make a good crew member and that's what made me decide to join."

Steve "I had a chat with with one of the DLAs and he asked me whether my wife would be interested in joining the crew, I said that she might be but i wasn't sure, I told them that I was definitely interested in joining the crew myself." (Steve's wife decided not to join the crew)

Ollie "My dad was rescued by the lifeboat when he was out sailing and his mast snapped. I go sailing a lot and i know that if I got into trouble I'd want someone to rescue me, so I decided I'd do my bit for others who might find themselves in a tricky situation."

So there you have it a quick insight.....We all come from different walks of life but the lifeboat brings us together. It is my opinion that being involved with the lifeboat is something that you do because it is part of you, you can't force it if it's not.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Engine Failure off the Anvil

No sooner has john headed off to France than the beautiful high pitched tone of the pager goes off again. We had a launch request for the ALB at 15.37 today, the boat launched at 15.48. They have headed over to Anvil Point and have taken into tow a motor boat that was having engine trouble.

I'll post the details when they get back........ and here they are straight from the horses mouth (sorry Dave).

Date: 18/06/07, Launch time: 15:48, Recovery time: 20:35 , Wind speed: 5 , Wind direction: S, Sea state: Moderate , Weather: Fine, Visibility: Good, Casualty: Motor boat, Location: 4.5 Nm SSE, St Albans Hd

Crew: M. Steeden (Coxn), D. Turnbull, P. Elleray, C. Marks, T. Greasty, G. Steeden, A. Corben

Details: At 15:40 Portland Coastguard paged Swanage's DLA (Deputy Launching Authority) requesting the launch of the All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) to go to the assistance of a 54' motor boat that had lost all power about 4.5Nm SSE of St Albans Head. 2 of the 4 crew were suffering mild sea sickness and despite their best efforts they were unable to start either of the boat's engines. The Lifeboat launched at 15:48 and was alongside the casualty 'Sea Samba' just over 20 minutes later. The sea sick crew were quite happy to stay aboard their vessel so a tow line was passed across and the slow tow home began. Unfortunately strong Easterly winds were forecast so it meant a slightly longer tow back into Poole harbour. At 19:45 and with some assistance from Poole Coastguard 'Sea Samba' was secured to Poole Quay and the Lifeboat was released to return to Swanage.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Last night's shout..........

............didn't go exactly to plan. Some time before 10 o'clock, Portland Coastguard had received a report of two men cut off by the tide on Broadbench at Kimmeridge. As it turned out, when the Coastguard 'Cliffman' got to the bottom and spoke to them they were fine......however, by that time we were on scene with the ILB and prepared to take the men off by sea if need be. That said, it was fairly lumpy and there was no way we were going to risk the ILB unless it was absolutely the only way of getting the 'casualties' off. The Coastguard 'Cliffman' had a lengthy conversation with the men and, though they were happy to stay where they were until the tide went out, they also (clearly being sporting types), were happy to be hauled up the cliff on the end of a piece of string by the Coastguard! In many ways this was a text book job on behalf of the Coasties. Seemingly in no time the winch was rigged and the two men were hauled up. A great job, well done. Perhaps the defining aspect of the evening was the incredible spirit of co-operation between the various assets. There were two lifeboats, two Coastguard mobile teams and the Coastguard in Portland involved...........all of whom were outwardly appreciative and understanding of each others efforts.The problems started when Skid, our weekend mechanic, noticed something on the floor of the engine room.On closer examination this turned out to be oil. Apparently leaking from one of the engines.A closer examination by Rob, Paul and Skid revealed that in fact the leak was from both engines and there was possibly also a small diesel leak as well!Luckily this was a job that could be rectified on station by our mechanics so, on returning to the boathouse at 0015, Paul, Skid and Rob began to replace the rocker cover gaskets. they were finished and in bed by about 0230! Well done lads, a job well done. They were however slightly intrigued by the discovery of this bolt and washer. They found them on the Starboard engine just sat there..........How and why they got there no one knows!

Anyway, once again I am off next week. A school trip to France this time. Jo has once more agreed to stand in in my absence so, here's looking at you girl.........

Saturday, 16 June 2007

eBay Auctions

Ever mindful of the need to find new, exciting and previously un-tapped ways to raise funds the RNLI is harnessing the nations appetite for eBay auctions over the next week. If you have a look here you will find all sorts of items to bid on, ranging from a tin of Irish Stew to a signed script from Coronation Street. Of course the highlight of the auctions must be the chance to have a guided tour of Swanage Lifeboat Station and meet the crew! Come know you want to .......get bidding! If you are the winning bidder on this I will also throw in a fish and chip supper for 4 people accompanied by Gav (known for his wit and charm).

Friday, 15 June 2007


Previously I have mentioned the rough geographical limits to our patch. Dave has produced this map which very clearly shows not the theory but the practise.........where did we end up going last year. The furthest West we got was just past Kimmeridge, we went about 1/2 way to the Isle of Wight in the East, up to Poole harbour entrance in the North and then about 30 miles South. I make that an area of somewhere in the region of 700 square nautical miles! Not bad hey? This year is shaping up to be very similar. We've had nothing mid channel yet but it'll happen I'm sure.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Welcome to the Jungle

Last night's crew meeting dwelt mainly on plans for our forthcoming lifeboat week (more about that later). However, we also had some crew matters to resolve. On first joining the sea going crew, new recruits are required to spend a year as a probationer. Providing they complete this year to the satisfaction of the station operations team then they are enrolled a full members of the crew. Last night 2 crewmembers were upgraded from Probationary Crew to full Crew.Chad, one of the Steeden clan has proved to be a rock solid crewmember and has contributed with enthusiasm and passion so far. No doubt he will go from strength to strength and continue to be a dependable and reliable team player.Jo needs little introduction having been our guest blogger. Another passionate and devoted crewmember, she may not be physically the strongest person on the team but she brings a multitude of other vital skills to the party and can always be relied upon to do the right thing. Another strong addition to the team. Welcome!

Rubber ball

Have you ever seen that film 'Groundhog Day'? You know, the one where every day is a repeat of the last.............well, here we go again. RCB is back, she returned last night during the exercise. By all accounts everything is now sorted and she is in fine fettle. Excuse me if I am sounding a little sceptical. It's just. Oh, you know why! Anyway, she's back so lets enjoy the thought that this time she might be here with us for more than a little while.

I'm like a rubber ball
Baby that's all that I am to you
(Bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)
Just a rubber ball
'Cause you think you can be true to two
(Bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)
You bounce my heart around
(You don't even put her down)
And like a rubber ball
I come bouncin' back to you
Rubber ball, I come bouncin' back to you

(Bobby Vee)

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Operations meeting

Every few months the operations committee of the station come together to discuss operational matters. I am not present at these meetings, so cannot tell you what happens in the inner sanctum, however, we as a crew soon know the outcome as there is generally a crew meeting some time in the following week.Tonight God has called his men together. And they will be locked in heated discussion about what's going right and what isn't. Neil, Martin, Rob, Dave, Kev and Steve will spend a not inconsiderable amount of time putting our lifeboating world to rights..................tomorrow night, at the next crew meeting, no doubt we will be told not to speed through the car park.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Gonna get myself connected

Crew on both the ILB and the ALB have Gecko protective helmets as part of their PPE. On the ILB these are worn at all times and on the ALB they are worn only at certain times (re-housing, boarding a casualty, in the 'x' boat). You might notice in the picture that the top 4 helmets have a wire sticking out of the back. These are the ILB Helmsmen's helmets and are wired up so they can hear what is being said by the radio operator while they are sat at the back of the boat next to the engine. This is an extra function which has been added to the new 'D' class (IB1) which wasn't present on the old one. These are a great pice of kit, many crew dislike wearing them however they are without doubt a lifesaver in certain circumstances.

If you make sure you're connected
The writing's on the wall
But if your mind's neglected
Stumble you might fall

(Stereo MC's)

Old friends

Out of the blue on Sunday I had a call from Roger Pardy-Bryan (known to us as Roger the Rother), present owner of Swanage's previous lifeboat the J.Reginald Corah. Now I have mentioned Roger a few times previously, mainly because it had come to our attention that he was selling her and thus would not be able to attend Lifeboat week with her as he has done ever since I can remember. Indeed, I had even been contacted by a broker of historic lifeboats asking for photos of her.

Well, today I am delighted to tell you that I spoke again with Roger this morning and he confirmed that he has taken the J.Reginald Corah off the market and he will be (in his own words) here in Swanage during lifeboat week if it is the last thing he does. Fantastic.........this means that once again, throughout the week, there will be trips available from the boathouse on the J.Reginald Corah to raise money for the station. As ever, this will be a highlight of lifeboat week for many visitors (and locals)!

Of course I am doubly delighted because Roger is a true friend of ours and this news means that he is in good spirits and health. One of life's consummate Gentlemen, Roger embodies all that makes one proud to be British: he gives without counting the cost, his loyalty to the RNLI and Swanage is un-swerving, no favour is too great and of course.......he knows the importance of a cup of fine coffee. Roger. We'll get the supplies in!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Blind pilotage

Sometimes the Coastguard get provided with such scanty details that their job really is terrifically hard. Yesterday was a classic example. It was a beautiful day but fog was ever present and it rolled into the cliffs thickly enough to provide us with a shout. Just as I was finishing my lunch Portland Coastguard received a mobile phone call from a 42 foot yacht=. In the very limited visibility she had run aground and thought she was in the vicinity of Kimmeridge ledges. Portland paged 'Launch request' and shortly afterwards asked for both boats to proceed to the area of Kimmeridge.

Now we launched in bright sunshine and perfect visibility. Moments later we went over peveril ledge and visibility closed down to less than 200 metres. Fog routine kicked in and we quickly fell into comfortable roles:Martin took the helm from inside and took overall command of the shout.Paul assumed his usual position on the radar and kept up a steady commentary on what was out there and how close it would come.Steve sat on the Chart table and plotted a route to get us there, at the same time he dealt with communications with the Coastguard and the boathouse. I hovered between the Chart table and the radar and filtered the information to Martin along with recommended courses to steer to avoid other vessels.Meanwhile Gav and Chad had the unenviable job of keeping a look out from the bow. There we were in side in shorts and 'T' shirts while they were in full foulweather gear.Last but not least Matt was in charge of the horn on the upper steering position sounding one prolonged blast at intervals of not more that 2 minutes.

Of course just as we were rounding St.Aldhelm's head the yacht realised that actually they weren't at Kimmeridge but at Ringstead bay, an easy mistake to make. Moments later the Coastguard stood us down to return to station. Certainly not a waste of time. Truly all very valuable practise of dealing with thick fog.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Doggie lovers

We are delighted that the unfortunate mut which we rescued yesterday has made a full recovery and is fine. It's important to us you see. We love dogs. Of course Kev is especially pleased (I think he formed a particularly close emotional attachment to the hound!)

You ain't nothin but a hound dog
Cryin' all the time.
You ain't nothin but a hound dog
Cryin' all the time.
Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit
And you ain't no friend of mine.

(Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller)

Big cheesy grins

The grins say it all, Nick and Becky had fun on Sunday. Why? Well, a couple times a year we exercise with Whisky Bravo, our local coastguard rescue helicopter, and typically a few crew will get lifted and have a ride. Last Sunday it was the turn of Nick and Becky. I would say by the look on their faces that they enjoyed themselves. Indeed, in Nick's own words, 'It was the best thing I've ever done'..........shh, don't tell his wife, the Divine Naomi!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

The RNLI exists to save lives..........

For the third time this year we have been called out to an animal. This afternoon's shout for the ILB was to a dog which had fallen over the cliff at Chapman's Pool. Now I feel pretty strongly that this does not come under the remit of saving lives at sea. However, I also feel that we are not only there to fulfill the stated aims of the RNLI but also to act as common decent people. Of course we could refuse to go, however, we are the sort of folk who like to help out and so we do. The added bonus is that we stop a member of the public from doing something silly while trying to rescue their dog (how many times have dog owners drowned while trying to rescue a dog from the sea and the dog lives?) Surely that alone makes it worthwhile?
Launch time: 14:16 Recovery time: 16:18
Wind speed: 1 Wind direction: NE Sea state: Smooth
Weather: Fine Visibility: Good Casualty: Miscellaneous
Location: Rope Lake Head
Crew: K. Dimarco (Helm), G. Steeden, O. Clark

RNLI Lifeboats are often called to help animals in trouble. Its often the easiest way of recovering a stricken animal and stops their owners getting into difficulty. Today Portland Coastguard requested the launch of Swanage's Inshore Lifeboat to assist in the recovery of a dog that had gone over the edge of the 150 foot high cliff at Rope Lake Head near Kimmeridge. The Lifeboat launched and was on scene a little over 20 mins later. Two crewmen were put ashore and after a short search found the dog (and the rabbit it was chasing) near the base of the cliff. Bill the dog was suffering from a cut mouth but other than that seemed fine. He was wrapped in an ambulance pouch and taken to Kimmeridge to be re-united with his very grateful owner. The Lifeboat and its crew were then released to return to station.

Further details are here.

Double century!

Well, how time passes. It seems only moments ago that I sat here and made my first post. TWO HUNDRED posts later and I am still here, and, I suspect, so are you. Indeed there are more of you than ever which is great.For those of you who are interested here are three (almost) interesting statistics about the blog:

1. The total number of visitors to date is 19,791 (which is a palindromic number).

2. The busiest day was Tuesday 27th of March when there were 717 visits to the site (which is also a palindromic number).

3. 85% of the visitors have come from the United Kingdom. Just over 5% from the USA and a little under a quarter of a percent each from El Salvador and Kuwait!

So now you know!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

3 Men in a boat (and Jen)!

The vast majority of our crew have received training at the Sea survival School at the Lifeboat College in Pool. The Instructors there are well known to us and naturally are hugely supportive of all we do. Here is a chance for us to support them supporting us..........

On Saturday 23 June, the RNLI Sea Survival Trainers will be starting a 24 hour stint sat in a liferaft to raise money for the "Train One Save Many" campaign. They are aiming to raise £6,846 which is enough money to pay for 6 crew members to attend a Sea Survival course at the. As the trainers for this course, which is run at The Lifeboat College in Poole, they are hoping that by raising this money for Crew Training they can do more towards helping ordinary people do extraordinary things.

There ordeal, "Adrift at Poole Afloat", will take place for 24 hours from midday on 23 June, located on Poole Quay. They would be very grateful for your donations online at Just Giving and would also appreciate your support by coming to see them at the Poole Afloat event throughout the weekend.

Donating through Just Giving is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor them, the RNLI - Royal National Lifeboat Institution, will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you.

So please sponsor them now!

Many thanks for your support.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

The family just got bigger

On Saturday afternoon our lifeboating family got a little bit bigger. Anthony Corben, son of ex-crewmember Dave (and his glorious wife Marion), finally tied the knot with his fiance Margaret.They were blessed with glorious weather which provided a day to remember. Sadly I was still trapped in Northern Spain so could not share the happy day with them.Still, by all accounts it was a fabulous day and a party to remember. Welcome to the club both of you and welcome to the family Margaret!

Romantic sponges, they say, do it
Oysters down in oyster bay do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

(George & Ira Gershwin)

Guess what?!

Well, I can hardly believe that I am having to break this news to you..........Pinky is back!!!! Sadly the RCB has suffered a problem with her engine cooling system and has gone back to the yard at headquarters to await repair. I am awaiting full details of the fault and solution from Dave and will update you in due course. In the meantime, welcome back Pinky!

Update from Dave T:

The problems are nothing major just a number of small oil leaks on both engines and a small amount of coolant leaking from the cylinder head gasket on the inboard 'V' of each engine. I'm a bit confused by Haddock's post as from the outside you wouldn't know that anything was wrong! Both engines were totally overhauled at the refit so they are still under warranty, the firm that carried out the work came to station last week and decided that it would be best to take the boat to Poole to do the repairs rather than having her off service at station. They're starting the work on Mon 11th June and I hope to have her back by the end of that week if all goes to plan. DT

Monday, 4 June 2007

Remind me.........

Next time I say that I am going sailing please stop me, in whatever way you see fit!

Last week I was away, as you may know, delivering my fathers recently purchased yacht to Northern Spain. The forecast was poor but not 'show stoppingly' poor. They said South Westerly 5-7 in the Bay of Biscay and Fitzroy sea areas. As it turned out we had no force 5's, 6's or 7's, mostly 8's and 9's!!!!! It was miserable to say the least.........thankfully it all worked out well in the end and here I am, back in the yoke feeling slightly wiser for the experience.

Of course there were some really good bits too. Somehow when one spends 4 days expecting each moment to be your last, life afterwards seems all the more sweet, meaningful and sharply focused. As a crew we worked well together: My father stoical as ever and utterly unflappable. Kev full of humour and taking all the hard, most boring watches without complaint. And me, well, just along for the ride really!

And so back to reality...........Thanks to Jo for her fabulous (if slightly embarrassing) posts in my absence. I've really enjoyed reading them and I think, from all the comments, that they have been very well received. I have news on the lifeboat front so watch this space and I will update things as soon as possible.

Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back Jojo. Go home
Get back, get back.
Back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Back to where you once belonged.
Get back Jo.


Friday, 1 June 2007

How Long is a Piece of String?

No one ever knows how long a shout is going to last. When you step on that boat you could be out there for ten minutes or you could be out there for hours. One of the longest shouts we've had lasted fourteen and a half hours, this was on the Mersey, we had been called out for two young boys who had been swept into the sea on a stormy night. Searches are very tough on the crew as they require maximum concentration, often over long periods of time. When undertaking a search, the aim is to swap around regularly to keep people on the ball, however this isn't always practical.

A few delectable treats are kept on the boat for people to tuck into when they are flagging, however the choice is limited, we have hot cans and cuppa soups....................

Or if you know where to look, Dave has a secret stash of chocolate!