Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Bay Swim

Yesterday evening was the Carnival Bay swim. We have a good number of crew taking part in the Triathlon again this year so a fair few of them were out for a training race on Monday evening.

Steve pulled a surprise performance out of the bag and swam terrifically.

Liz also swam well and enjoyed the race.

Becky was there to watch and organise but didn't actually get into the water (we noticed Becky)!

Dan was also there supporting with his partner.

And who can forget little Daz, our star performer. Well done mate.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Rain on your parade

We just got away with it yesterday. On what is normally a fabulously sunny day in Swanage, the weather for the Carnival Day Parade was actually pretty dreary yesterday. Still, everyone turned out just the same, and there was a very strong showing from the lifeboat contingent.

Charlotte was mischievous as ever and (encouraged by Deasy of course) decided to climb into the collecting flag!

The kids did a great job of flying the flag and collecting the pennies in the ILB.

For once the crew were pleased to be wearing yellows!

I’m gonna rain on your parade.
No, I won’t take it again.
And I’ll keep raining, raining, raining over you.

(Duffy - Rain on your Parade)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

There's no 'I' in teamwork....

but it turns out there is in 'Pile on'!

Yesterday was the annual 'It's a knockout competition' at the Swanage Carnival. The usual healthy competition between the RNLI and Swanage and Wareham rugby club was taken to an altogether new level. One of the lifeboat crew was hospitalised but hey...we won!

It was the usual suspects so well done lads and lasses. A good show all round.

Team RNLI even managed to make walking the plank look simple.

On completion the whole gang headed to the boatpark and went out into the middle of the bay for another great display from the Red Arrows. We all agreed...it must be about as much fun as a chap can have with his clothes on (assuming of course that they were fully clothed)?!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Salvamento Maritimo

Having spent a week in Spain just recently sailing with my father it was inevitable that at some point we would bump into the local lifesavers somewhere along the line. Luckily this happened but not at sea!

In Camarinas, a small Galician fishing harbour slightly to the east of Cape Finisterre, my father and I happened upon the local Salvamento Maritimo vessel, a fully crewed and permanently on call lifeboat. Carlos, photographed here with my old man was the deck-hand and seemed very content with his job.

The vessel itself was a copy of a Norwegian Lifeboat and was impressive, featuring jet drives, twin Caterpillar engines, aluminium hull and no less that 3 sleeping cabins! It was carpeted throughout...including in the spotless engine room.

As you would expect, her crew of 3 full-timers (and no volunteers) keep her in a spotless condition.

Once we reached A Coruna we also had a chance to visit the tomb of General Sir John Moore. Those of you who know your history will recall that he died during the peninsular wars in the battle for A Coruna on the 16th January 1809. His death was immortalised by the words of poet Charles Woolfe. Locally Sir John Moore is remembered and celebrated as a hero and the English are held in high regard as a consequence.

The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna

Charles Wolfe. 1791–1823

Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.

We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light
And the lanthorn dimly burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
With his martial cloak around him.

Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed
And smooth'd down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we far away on the billow!

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that 's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him—
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.

But half of our heavy task was done
When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
But we left him alone with his glory.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Then it went bang

was how the skipper of today's casualty described what had happened to his engine. He was right to be worried that this was followed by a large amount of black smoke too. So he did the correct thing, left the engine room hatch shut and called the coastguard. They called us which was how my bike ride was interrupted and I ended up going on a shout wearing a full suit of lycra! Not pretty...

Anyway, it was a straight-forward job to rig up the tow and pull him back into the bay where he is now sitting on our mooring. Hopefully the damage is not too extensive and he can soon be back in business again.

Stepping up

Last night we were short handed on the exercise for a variety of reasons. This always makes for an interesting time as there can be no passengers and inevitably people end up performing the role above what they normally do.
Skid helmed the boat for the majority of the exercise using both the primary and emergency steering. And a great job he did too learning how to anchor the boat as well as everything else.

Sam got stuck into a variety of seamanship evolutions such as emergency steering and anchoring and demonstrated just what she is capable of.

Matt took charge of the deck as second Cox'n, his responsibility was to talk each evolution through then stand back and observe it happen. He is a natural teacher and has an innate ability to instill confident in those he is instructing.

JFL...one of our newest recruits, naturally took everything in his stride and showed all the signs of becoming a very useful member of the crew in short order.

Of course the ILB was out too under the command of Gav who is the duty helmsman this week. By all accounts they had a useful exercise too and learnt much.

Meanwhile James Mack, Shi and I were down below conducting a very productive navigational exercise.

I was following the pack
all swallowed in their coats
with scarves of red tied ’round their throats
to keep their little heads
from fallin’ in the snow
And I turned ’round and there you go
And, Michael, you would fall
and turn the white snow red as strawberries
in the summertime

(Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Hanging in there...

For some reason the shore crew were all laughing when we arrived back from Sunday evening's shout. After a while I spotted why! I can see that I am going to have to start chaining up my 'un-stealable' shout bike up.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Needle in a Haystack

At around 18.45 this evening we were paged to go round towards Anvil Point lighthouse to search for a Dog which had fallen over the cliff. The weather has been pretty fresh for the last few days so it was no surprise to find that it was pretty lumpy around the back side of the cliffs.

On this sort of job our presence is primarily required in case the Coastguard Cliff team choose to go over the cliff edge to recover the casualty. In these sort of conditions there is little we can do for a dog as conditions were too rough at the base of the cliff to make it prudent to even attempt to put any men ashore (of course...had the casualty been a person things might have been different).

In the circumstances we saw nothing of the dog and after a very thorough search using Mk1 eyeballs and binoculars saw no sign of the poor animal.

So, once the cliff team had had a final look over the edge we returned home for a good washdown and then off home in the hope that the Sunday roast was in the oven still and not in the bin.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Approaching fast . . .

Lifeboat Week 2009 is now a little over 4 weeks away. Today we took delivery of our car/house/shop window stickers.

If you'd like one pop into the Lifeboat Shop in The Square, the Lifeboat Station or just download one from [ here ], print it out and pop it in your window.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What a relief

Today our ILB (D-613 'Jack Cleare') has gone off for refit. This used to happen every 18 months but after she's had this refit it will be extended to every 2 years.
The refits are carried out at the RNLI's Inshore Lifeboat Centre (ILC) in Cowes. If you're really lucky you might even see the refit happening on the new ILC webcams.

RNLI Depot Transport brought a relief boat (D-610 'Catterick') complete with pod and engine so that our boat can go back complete. This means that the electronics in the pod and the engine can all be serviced at the same time.

The refit is planned to take 2 to 3 weeks so hopefully Jack Cleare will be back in time for Lifeboat Week.

Both boats are out on exercise tonight so the crew will be giving the relief boat a run to make sure that she performs well.

Thanks to Kev & Gav for their help (and doughnuts!)