Eleven launches during Cowes Week for new crew

Volunteer crew based at the new RNLI lifeboat station in Cowes’ Shepherds Wharf marina faced a busy Cowes Week. The lifeboat, recently taken over by the RNLI, launched a total of 11 times during the regatta.

This is the first year that the recently formed RNLI volunteer crew has been on-call during the week-long Skandia Cowes sailing regatta, as the Atlantic 85 inshore RNLI lifeboat was officially placed ‘on service’ from the 1 July 2008.

With a total of around 970 yachts and 8,500 crews racing in the busy waters of the Solent, the British summertime weather provided challenging conditions for sailors. With a wet and windy start to the first day of racing, 2008 Cowes Week did not disappoint when it came to exhilarating sailing conditions, with winds from 5-36 knots during the week-long regatta.

Incidents that the Cowes RNLI lifeboat crew were called to ranged from dismastings, to boats involved in collisions that required towing into the marina, including one yacht with a hole in its hull and a call-out to a yacht that ran aground on the Brambles Bank. One of the RNLI Cowes rescues, involving a dismasted Sigma 38 called Pavlova, was captured by Cowes TV. 

Commenting on the number of rescues during their first Cowes Week as RNLI lifeboat crew, Cowes RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Capt. Paul Townsend says:

‘The weather conditions certainly played a role in the number of rescues our volunteer lifeboat crew were called to. It’s been a busy first Cowes week for the RNLI inshore lifeboat with 11 launches. Our 14 volunteer crew, who were all taking annual leave from their full-time jobs, worked almost non-stop to respond to call-outs. I’d like to thank the crew, and their families, for giving up their hard-earned annual leave to maintain 24/7
search and rescue cover in Cowes.’