12 April 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
A new Atlantic 85 class lifeboat has gone on service at Youghal RNLI. The lifeboat which arrived at the east Cork lifeboat station yesterday evening (Monday 11 April), replaces Patricia Jennings, which has been used to save lives at sea in East Cork since 2002.
Volunteer lifeboat crew began a week of familiarisation training this afternoon (Tuesday) with their first exercise on the Gordon and Phil. The lifeboat was put on service at 12.30pm.
The new lifeboat has been funded through a legacy from the late Gwenda Bull, a native of Brighton in East Sussex, England, who was a supporter of the charity’s volunteers in saving lives at sea.
The lifeboat Gordon and Phil, is named after Gwenda’s parents in their memory. Prior to her death at the age of 82 in 2013, Gwenda who lived near Shoreham lifeboat station which she visited regularly, said her family had always admired the wonderful work of the RNLI.
The Gordon and Phil will be officially named at a special naming ceremony and service of dedication at Youghal lifeboat station later this year.
In her 14 years in Youghal, Patricia Jennings launched 175 times, with its volunteer lifeboat crew rescuing 233 people, nine of whom were lives saved.
The new lifeboat has some advancement on its predecessor. The Atlantic 85 design allows room for four crew members and more kit than the Atlantic 75 lifeboat, which only had room for three crew members.
The lifeboat is powered by two 115 horse power engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and there is also VHF direction-finding equipment.
The vessel also has a manually operated self-righting mechanism which combined with inversion-proofed engines keeps the lifeboat operational even after capsize. The lifeboat can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear.
The Atlantic 85 which was introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005 also carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.
Speaking following the arrival of the new lifeboat, Fergus Hopkins, Youghal RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Gwenda Bull for her generous legacy donation which has funded our new lifeboat. As we welcome a new lifeboat, there is also a sense of nostalgia among us today too as we bid a fond farewell to Patricia Jennings who provided us with 12 great years of service. Patricia Jennings time here in Youghal saved lives and brought many more people safely to shore and we hope her donor family will be just as proud as we are, of her many achievements.
‘We are looking forward to being the custodians of this new lifeboat which will allow our volunteers to go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years to come.’
The RNLI is a charity which relies on voluntary contributions and legacies.