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Recent Services 11th September 2017

Sennen Cove Lifeboat News

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Lifeboat News - compiled by Brian Simpson ~ Station Honorary Press Officer

The inshore lifeboat Amy Brown was paged by HM Coastguard Falmouth at 8.10 pm on Wednesday 12 July following reports that a person on a body board was possibly in difficulties in the sea off Sennen beach.  The inshore lifeboat quickly launched and carried out a search of the area but did not find anyone.  It was believed that the person had been helped ashore and the lifeboat was stood down to return to station.


On the following afternoon, Thursday 13 July, a lifeguard at Porthcurno reported that a snorkeler had gone out from the beach in the direction of the Minack. Two hours had passed and he had not returned.  At the request of HM Coastguard Falmouth, the all weather lifeboat City of London III  launched at 3.40 pm to carry out a search as far as Porthcurno.  The description was of a male wearing a black wet suit and black flippers. This was later confirmed by an eyewitness who had seen him entering the water. A search was also carried out by the Land's End and Penzance Cliff Rescue Teams.  At 3.55 pm a request was made for help from the Coastguard Rescue helicopter. At 5.00 pm a further request was made for the inshore lifeboat to join the search. The Amy Brown launched at 5.05 pm to make a close-in search of the coastline as far as Gwennap Head. A Mayday request was made to all vessels in the area to keep a look- out for any possible sightings of a snorkeler.  At 6.00 pm HM Coastguard, after consultation, reluctantly decided to call off the search and all parties were stood down.  Both lifeboats returned to station at 6.20 pm.


On Saturday morning 22 July HM Falmouth Coastguard requested the assistance of the Sennen Cove Station. This followed the activation of a distress beacon about 60 miles northwest of Sennen Cove. A Coastguard helicopter was also tasked from Newquay to locate the beacon and assess the situation.  The all weather lifeboat City of London III launched  just after 8.00 am. The Coastguard helicopter arrived on scene and located a French registered yacht with an Irish crew of three. They had activated the beacon as they had a leak and were waist-deep in water.  Their intention was to continue their passage to Ireland if possible.  With an updated position, it was realised that the yacht was nearer 80 miles northwest of Sennen Cove.  In view of this, the Irish Coastguard tasked the Ballycotton lifeboat and their Rescue helicopter to proceed with a salvage pump. The Coastguard helicopter from Newquay remained on scene until their Irish colleagues arrived with the salvage pump.. Meanwhile the Sennen Cove lifeboat was asked to continue towards the casualty until it was confirmed that the pump was working effectively and the water was receding.  Once progress was confirmed, HM Falmouth stood down their helicopter and she returned to base. Since the Ballycotton lifeboat was heading to the scene with the intention of establishing a tow, it was decided that the Sennen Cove lifeboat did not need to continue and she was stood down. After running some 65 miles the City of London III returned to Sennen Cove at about 2.00 pm having completed a round trip of 130 miles.  In the words of the coxswain: "To our knowledge this is the furthest distance a Sennen Cove lifeboat has been on service. A long and bouncy run for our crew and an even longer one for our friends from Ballycotton." The Irish lifeboat arrived at Crosshaven at 11-00 pm. The weather consisted of heavy showers, with west-southwesterly winds force 5-6 and a moderate sea.


 On Tuesday afternoon 25 July, HM Coastguard Falmouth requested further assistance, following a distress call from the single-handed yacht Lotna. She was on passage from the Isles of Scilly to Falmouth and had suffered engine problems. The skipper had requested a tow to Newlyn. The yacht was stranded just south west of Wolf Rock.  The City of London III launched, with 6 crew on board, at 3.15 pm to go to her assistance. Once the lifeboat had arrived on scene, the crew established a tow and by 3.55 pm they were under way to Newlyn,  They arrived in Newlyn at about 6.10 pm, and having ensured the safe berth of the casualty, the lifeboat returned to station in Sennen Cove. She was recovered up the short slip at 7.05 pm.


On Monday evening 31 July both lifeboats the all weather City of London III and the inshore Amy Brown launched at 5.15 pm following concerns for the safety of a single-handed fisherman working out of Priest Cove, Cape Cornwall.  The vessel was being monitored by the National Coastwatch Institution lookout at Cape Cornwall, but had been lost from view for over an hour.  The fisherman was located by the City of London III safe and well, returning along the shore from Pendeen. The lifeboats returned to Sennen Cove at 5.55 pm.  Our coxswain said: "Working lobster pots single-handed in small boats is a notoriously dangerous local occupation, well understood by the fishermen amongst the lifeboat crew; the lifeboats will never hesitate to respond immediately to any safety concerns."


On Monday morning 21 August, a call was received for assistance. It was reported that a local fishing boat was in difficulties off Land's End. It was not clear what issue they had so it was decided to launch the all weather lifeboat,

and the City of London III launched at 11.15 am to go to their aid. It transpired that they had engine problems and had rowed from Nanjizal to Land's End before the rowlock fitting in the rail failed.  The fishing boat was towed back to Sennen Cove and the lifeboat was recovered up the slipway at 12.30 pm. We are pleased to report that the boat was soon all good and ready for fishing again.


On Saturday 26 August, reports were received that two persons in an inflatable dinghy were being carried away by the tide off Porthgwarra. The  City of London III launched at 12.10 pm to go to their assistance. The lifeboat arrived on scene between Hella Point and the Brothers at 12.21 pm. The two persons and the dinghy were recovered and, using the Y boat, they were returned to Porthgwarra beach. The lifeboatreturned to the station at 1.00 pm.  It was a lovely fine day.


In the early hours of Monday morning 28 August reports were received of a person shouting for help in the area between Logan Rock and Pednvounder, near Porthcurno.  Both lifeboats - the all weather City of London III and the inshore lifeboat Amy Brown - launched at about 3.00 am. The Lands End Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team and the Rescue helicopter 924 were also tasked to assist.  The Cliff Rescue Team located the casualty part way down the cliff at Pry. He had fallen a considerable distance and had sustained injuries.  The Rescue helicopter eventually airlifted the casualty to Treliske hospital. The two lifeboats returned to Sennen Cove at 4.30 am.


On Wednesday evening 30 August, the alarm was raised that a chap on a longboard had set out from Sennen Cove in the direction of Land's End. He had not been seen since.  Both lifeboats launched at about 8.00 pm to go in search of him. The all weather lifeboat was tasked to search from Nanjizal back to Sennen Cove, and the inshore boat to search more closely inshore from Sennen Cove to Gamper.  The searches were carried out, including checking that he had not become stranded on rocks, without any sightings. The Land's End Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team were also called out in case he had managed to climb up the cliffs. The Coastguard Team eventually discovered the surfer in the Beach restaurant. He had successfully reached Porthcurno and had returned to Sennen Cove by land.  Both lifeboats returned to the Station at about 9.15 pm.


One of the highlights of the fundraising season was the visit of the St Buryan Male Voice Choir to Sennen Cove harbour on Sunday evening 13 August. The weather was very kind to us, and the Choir provided a rare treat for lovers of fine music in a glorious Cornish setting. The generosity of the audience raised an amazing £318 for the work of our volunteer lifeboat crew. As always we are immensely grateful to the Choir members who give so freely of their time and talents.


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