Southampton, United Kingdom
Sennen Cove Lifeboat And Pilot Gigs
Photograph - Photograph
Just one mile north east of Land's End, Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station established in 1853 has a new state-of-the-art Tamar class lifeboat "R.N.L.B. City of London III " . Built in 2009 at a cost of � 2.7M, she is a 16m self-righting lifeboat powered by two 1000hp Caterpillar C18 diesels giving her a top speed of 25 knots, with an endurance of 10 hours + at full speed. The station also operates a D class inshore lifeboat, "Spirit of the R.L.C.".
City of London III is launched down a slipway in the traditional fashion but the Station is unique in having two slipways which allow the lifeboat to be recovered in the shelter of the breakwater at high tide or up the longer launching slipway at low tide.
A Crew Pool of 24 highly trained and dedicated volunteers are available to man the lifeboats and undertake the shore crew duties including launching and maintaining the lifeboats. This pool ensures adequate crew availability to man both boats immediately 24 hours daily 365 days per year.
The Sennen Cove lifeboat station at Lands End operates in conjunction with the lifeboats based at Penlee at Newlyn, St.Mary`s on the Isles of Scilly and St. Ives on the north Cornish coast so there is comprehensive lifeboat coverage around the whole southwest coast of Cornwall.
The Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose, near Helston in Cornwall, operates a Sea King search and rescue helicopter which works closely with the lifeboat stations and H.M. Coastguard operate Cliff Rescue Teams at Porthleven, Penzance, Land`s End and St.Ives.
The Cornish pilot gig is a six-oared rowing boat, built of Cornish narrow leaf elm, 32 feet (9.8 m) long with a beam of four feet ten inches.
It is recognised as one of the first shore-based lifeboats that went to vessels in distress, with recorded rescues going back as far as the late 17th century.
The original purpose of the Cornish pilot gig was as a general work boat, and the craft is used for taking pilots out to incoming vessels off the Atlantic. In those days the race would be the first gig to get their pilot on board a vessel often to save those about to run aground on rocks, got the job, and hence the payment.
Today, pilot gigs are used primarily for sport, with around 100 clubs across the globe. The main concentration is within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, however clubs exist in Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Wales and London. Internationally there are pilot gig clubs in France, the Netherlands, the Faroe Islands, Australia and the USA.
March 12th, 2013
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