How the sea changes day to day – one day it is a play-ground on another day it challenges the skills of everyone on the water. Yesterday 3 crew died when an all-weather lifeboat capsized 800 metres from the coast around Les Sables d’Olonne France with seven people on board. One charity I support is our Lifeboat service.
In most areas around our coast especially in small harbour towns, there are signs of fishing. Much of this industry is from small open boats. It never fails to surprise me how dangerous the sea can look from sea level in a small boat. One of the reasons that one of the charities I support is RNLI who provides lifeboats around our shores.
Historic lifeboats in Hastings.
“Priscilla Macbean” was built just across the Solent from our home at J S White in Cowes on the Isle of White in 1925. She is a 35-foot self-righting lifeboat. Powered by oars (she had a crew of 8 to 10 men) and a sail this was backed up by a 15hp single petrol engine capable of 6 knots. She saw service with RNLI until being sold off in 1934. After being used as a private pleasure boat. She found decaying in a field until 2012 when she was restored.
Also built by J S White in Cowes Cyril Lillian Bishop saw service from 1931 to 1950. She was also a self-righting lifeboat 35 feet in length she had a top speed of 7.5 knots from her 35hp engine.
Below is the brand new Hastings Lifeboat – Shannon Class boat named “Richard and Caroline Colton” numbered 13-28 next to the boat she is replacing 12-002 the 30-year-old Mersey Class lifeboat. The Shannon Class boat is capable of 25 knots a bit faster than the “Priscilla Macbean”!
Below – A “silent film” of the beach taken on 18th October.
New lifeboat alongside the 30-year-old Mersey Class boat being replaced.
By chance, the RNLI station on the strand at Hastings was undertaking the last few days of sea trials of their new all-weather Shannon Class lifeboat.
The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet. She is capable of 25 knots and almost 50% faster than the current Mersey class lifeboat stationed at Hastings. She is also the first modern all-weather lifeboat propelled by waterjets instead of propellers.
The Waterjets allow her to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. After her launch, I watched her recovered, it was most interesting watching her run onto the beach at what seemed a fairly high speed.
At just over 13m in length and weighing some 18 tonnes, the Shannon is the smallest current all-weather lifeboat. At Hastings, they have a unit looking like something from my favourite childhood TV program Thunderbirds to launch and recover the boat called the Shannon Launch and Recovery System (SLARS). After being recovered from the beach a turntable in the carriage rotates the Shannon 180º ready for the next time she needs to be launched.
Gulls and Hastings Lifeboat on the beach at Hastings. enjoying a few days way in the campervan.