RNLI VOLUNTEER lifeboat crews will go boat-to-boat in a new challenge at this year’s Volvo Cork Week of sailing.
The Beaufort Cup Regatta will see the crews pitted against each other, along with their colleagues in the emergency services.
The Beaufort Cup, named after Irishman Sir Francis Beaufort, creator of the Beaufort Wind Scale, invites sailing teams representing their national services to race over five days in a mix of challenging offshore and inshore races, including round the Fastnet, to be crowned the Beaufort Cup holder and receive a €10,000 for their nominated charity. The event is being run by the Royal Cork Yacht Club and is supported by the Irish Defence Forces.
The RNLI has two teams participating in the cup – with lifeboat crew from Baltimore RNLI making up one group, while the RNLI South Coast team, made up of lifeboat crew from Fenit, Union Hall, Crosshaven and Tramore RNLI lifeboat stations, makes up the second one.
The rules state that the team must be made up of at least fifty percent crew from the emergency services.
The Baltimore RNLI team will be racing on a projection 35 boat ‘True Penance’ given to them for the event by Martin Darer and Colman Garvey. The crew will comprise skipper Youen Jacob, Nicholas O’Leary; Cathal Cottrell; Pat Collins; Sandy Remington; Jim Baker; Colman Garvey; and Aiden Bushe. Aidan will race offshore and be replaced by Brendan Cottrell later in the week, so that the lifeboat station will remain fully operational with a crew on-call and available at all times.
The RNLI SouthcCoast team will be racing on ‘Endgame’ owned by Frank Doyle with RNLI lifeboat crew from the South coast lifeboat stations.
The crew comprises Ruth Concannon (Fenit RNLI); Johnny McKenna (Union Hall RNLI); Adain O’Connor and James Fegan (Crosshaven RNLI) and Fergal McGrath (Tramore RNLI) Frank’s existing crew Harry Donegan, John Lapthorne, Will Barry and Tadhg Concannon, will also be on-hand during the week.
The two crews have received sponsorship and support from Cape Clear Ferry Company for Baltimore RNLI, and Helly Hanson and Solas Marine for RNLI South Coast.
Commenting on the Beaufort Cup, Crosshaven RNLI and RNLI South Coast crewmember James Fegan said: ‘This is going to be a fantastic event and we are very grateful to the Defence Forces for supporting it and making it happen. We usually work side by side with our colleagues from other lifeboat stations and agencies during search and rescue operations so this is very different for us. I feel it could get quite competitive out there in the sea but may the best team win.’
Also speaking on the event Baltimore RNLI station mechanic and ‘True Penance’ crew member Cathal Cottrell added: ‘Everyone knows we take our sailing very seriously down here and we will be looking to bring home the Cup. It is going to be a tough few days of racing. With so many lifeboat crew on board, I don’t think we will need to call out the lifeboat! I want to wish all of the crews from across the emergency services the best of luck. We will see them at the finish line.’
Cape Clear Ferry said this week that they were delighted to sponsor the Baltimore Lifeboat team in their bid to win the inaugural Beaufort Cup.
The offshore race will start on Monday July 11th off Haulbowline Island, the home of the Irish Naval Service.