Sunday, 2 December 2007

David and Goliath

I've been tired recently. Indeed, we all have due to the first aid course. So when our pagers went off at 0030 this morning I think there were a few groans about the place. As usual we rushed to the boathouse and assembled our kit. Slowly the story began to filter through. There was a pair of large beam trawlers, one trying to tow the other 4 miles south west of St.Alban's Head. The tow had parted and the towed vessel was now drifting at the mercy of the freshening breeze. Next we heard that Weymouth's Severn class lifeboat had launched and was proceeding to the position. The Coastguard seemed unsure whether we would be able to cope with the size of the 180 ton, 22 metre vessel. We were asked to remain in the boathouse at immediate readiness. And so we did, for the next hour and 50 minutes. Needless to say the lads began to get a bit restless and fed-up.

Finally at about 0215 the coastguard asked us to launch so we could escort the boats and ultimately take over the tow before taking the stricken vessel up into Poole harbour. This we did and we spent a couple of hours escorting them until Weymouth's tow parted (snapped) somewhere off Swanage bay. We took over and continued the tow up towards Poole Fairway bouy. Once more the tow began to part strand by strand and eventually the decision was taken for the Beamer's pal to take him in tow alongside as the sea had flattened off considerably in the lee of Studland. Luckily this worked and we put Rob Aggas onboard to pilot him into the harbour while we steamed ahead to show them the way. Eventually the casualty was put alongside Poole town quay at about 0600.

We then carried on up to headquarters to drop our boat off to have some maintenance done. So at 0716 we re-housed on the slipway in Swanage in a relief boat, 'Bingo Lifeline' and after a quick washdown went home to our beds. I climbed into bed at 0755! I should imagine there will be a few early nights tonight?

Read more about this shout in the MCA newsroom and on the Swanage Lifeboat website.


Anonymous said...

Nice work, John. It was a foul night, rather you than me.

Mark R

lifeboatjohn said...

Wasn't a great deal of fun Mark.