Rambler 100—What You Didn’t Know ©2012 Tim McKnight. This article may be re-printed provided that the author is acknowledged and the following legend is added: ‘first published in The Baltimore Community News [Ireland], volume 4: issue 3: Christmas 2012.’ Everyone knows that the racing yacht Rambler 100 lost her keel [...]
More photos mostly uncredited so if you can help out please do let us know through the form on the contacts page.
Donie O’Regan, Paul O’Regan, Christy Collins, Noel Cottrell and John O’Regan on board the Robert towing in the Kayuka the morning after the Fastnet race disaster in August 1979
See Lesson 2 for another photo taken the same morning of the lifeboat with the Kayuka alongside.
Thanks to Cathal for setting the record straight.
BGT407053520_0 20 April 1920 Shamrock inauguration slip launch Gaumont Graphic Newsreel footage of the inauguration of the Shamrock by Lady Coghill and officiated by the Bishop of Ross can be seen on the ITN source news footage website Thanks to Simon Duggan for finding this gem. Please keep sending in [...]
Rededication of Charles Henry, Cape Clear. Add your comment below or upload an image through the contacts page.
The race began on Saturday, August 11, 1979. 303 yachts and 2,700 sailors set out on the 608-mile race from the Isle of Wight. The course took the yachts westwards across the Irish Sea, around the Fastnet Rock 3 miles West of Cape Clear and back. The race began in fine weather with no warning of what was to come. Many of the larger yachts were rounding the Fastnet when weather conditions deteriorated rapidly as a Force 10 gale swept across the North Atlantic at an alarming rate.
The yachts were pounded by 40-foot breaking waves and rescue helicopters and lifeboats struggled to save them. These conditions endured for 20 hours. Rescue crews pulled 136 sailors from their yachts or the sea, but 15 men died, two of whose bodies were never found. Only 85 boats managed to finish the race, while five sunk and a further 24 were abandoned. One of the few boats to reach the finish line in Plymouth was Morning Cloud skippered by former UK Prime Minister Edward Heath.
Three Irish Yachts were competing for the Admirals cup and were in pole position before the last race, of the series, the Fastnet. When Regardless lost her rudder that was the end of the Irish dream. The boat was towed into Baltimore by the lifeboat The Robert. A second Irish yacht Golden Apple of the Sun lost her rudders too, and the boat was abandoned by her crew in favour of a helicopter when another gale was forecast for that night. The third Irish boat Invincible made it across the finishing line.
Special regulations were brought in following the disaster to make it mandatory for competing yachts to carry VHF equipment and reduced the total numbers of yachts competing.
The 25th anniversary was commemorated in 2004 by a wreath laying ceremony which took place at sea, off North Harbour, Cape Clear Island. Coxswain Kieran Cotter laid the wreath from aboard the L.E. Eimear in the company of Terence Johnson Deputy Chairman, RNLI Ireland, and Commanader Kavanagh of the L.E. Deirdre, the Irish naval ship that took part in the rescue operation. The L.E Grainnuaile stood by during the ceremony and was accompanied by a large flotilla of pleasure craft.
Our current Coxswain Kieran Cotter was part of the lifeboat crew that spent over 20 hours at sea onboard the Robert. A commemorative plaque was presented to Kieran and members of the Baltimore Lifeboat. The citation reads; “The heroic work of Coxswain Christy Collins and crew of the Baltimore Lifeboat, The Robert, who rescued the crew of the Regardless and Marionette and towed both yachts to Baltimore is acknowledged as an extraordinary feat of seamanship conducted during the storm in which the 15 Fastnet race competitors perished”.
The photo above is dated 15th August 1979 and was taken by Anne Minihane. It shows the Robert back out on duty shortly after the heroic efforts of the previous days.
If you have photos of lifeboats stationed at Baltimore we would love to see and share them. Photos can be uploaded through the form on the website contacts page.
Pictured here is Louis Nolan, lifeboat mechanic on the first lifeboat stationed at Baltimore. This photo was taken prior to 1945 in the station boathouse, showing the stern of lifeboat ON649 The Shamrock (also known as the Duke of Connaught). The Watson class lifeboat was stationed here from from 17 August 1919 until 11 October 1949. Louis’s father Bill served on the Shamrock as Coxswain and Louis’s son Billy later served on the Sarah Tilson.