Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring - Generic

Volunteer receives award- full rescue story

by Tamsin Thomas on 20 Jul 2011
Blythe Spirit doomed but crew saved .. .
A Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer is to receive the Institution's prized 'Thanks of the Institution on Vellum' for his bravery in the dramatic rescue of two sailors grounded on rocks in breaking seas. (See Sail-World http://www.sail-world.com/CruisingAus/Every-sailors-nightmare---no-wind,-engine-fails,-on-the-rocks/83102!story.) The full details of the precarious rescue, along with the determination and courage of the volunteer and his other crew are recounted here:

Torbay RNLI crew volunteer Nigel Crang (45) is to receive the award. Two other volunteers who were onboard the D class inshore lifeboat, John Heale (35) and Will Bower (37), will be presented with Framed Letters of Thanks from the RNLI Chairman. There will also be written recognition for Richard Fowler, the 2nd Coxswain of the all-weather lifeboat, as he and his crew stood by during the rescue.

The incident happened on Sunday 1 May when the lifeboat crews were paged to the two crew of the yacht Blythe Spirit that was aground on Corbyn’s Head. Both the RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboat crews were launched at 2.55pm and found the yacht had grounded head to sea with waves breaking over her. Fortunately the crew were suitably dressed and wearing lifejackets.

Immediately it was decided no attempt should be made to tow the yacht off and that it would not be possible to get the Severn class all-weather lifeboat Alec and ChristinaDykes close enough because of the breaking swell and the rocky conditions. This left the volunteer crew of the Torbay RNLI D class inshore lifeboat John William Hirst to take on the job of rescuing the two sailors.

Nigel Crang, who has been an RNLI volunteer for 23 years, made two attempts to veer* the inshore lifeboat to the yacht using one line attached to bow of the all-weather lifeboat and another to the inshore lifeboat anchor. However, the all-weather lifeboat had to manoeuvre in the swell, which meant it wasn’t stable enough to give Helmsman Crang full control of the inshore lifeboat.

During these attempts the inshore lifeboat was temporarily driven hard aground twice, causing propeller damage, and was also completely filled with water. Having confirmed the damage had not reduced the lifeboat’s capability, Nigel Crang then decided to approach the yacht holding the lifeboat steady via its own anchor.

As the yacht was approached, a wave washed into the lifeboat, driving it hard aground and causing the anchor to break free. One of the crew volunteers, John Heale, jumped onto the rock and pushed the lifeboat away as the receding wave didn’t carry it clear.

The yacht’s situation was getting worse by this stage. Helmsman Crang took the sudden opportunity of a brief lull in between the waves to drive the inshore lifeboat alongside the stricken vessel and take the man off the yacht.
The woman who was on the higher windward side of the yacht, was then persuaded to move to the lower side and successfully recovered into the lifeboat. Both were then put safely ashore. The yacht subsequently broke up.

Adrian Carey, RNLI Divisional Inspector for the south west, says it was a daring rescue:
‘This was a difficult and dangerous service that could easily have resulted in the capsize of the inshore lifeboat. Nigel has commented that this was the closest he has come in his 23 years of voluntary service to losing a lifeboat. Despite suffering several setbacks the crew volunteers showed great perseverance to achieve a successful outcome and it just shows the value of the RNLI’s continuous crew training programme.’

RNLI notes :
• *To veer is to take the lifeboat astern using a line attached to an anchor to hold the bow of the lifeboat into the sea.
• The Thanks of the Institution on Vellum is one of the four major awards given by the RNLI for meritorious actions, the other three being the RNLI’s bronze, silver and gold medals. It is the gift of the RNLI trustees to award the Vellums and they are not handed out lightly.
• In the last five years (2005 – 2010) just 20 Thanks of the Institution on Vellum have been awarded in the south west.
upffront 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - TechTuesday - Data drives athlete performance
Gathering real-time data isn’t just important for our Americas Cup racing catamarans, but our athletes as well. Gathering real-time data isn’t just important for our Americas Cup racing catamarans, but our athletes as well. Find out from Oracle Team USA physical performance manager Craig McFarlane how the team are using Zephyr Performance Systems to monitor athletes on the water and in the gym.
Posted on 28 Sep
Legendary Mitch Booth to compete in St-Barth Cata Cup 2016
Sixty teams have already confirmed they will be competing in the event. As a triple world champion, Booth is no stranger to the F18. For this edition, he will be joined by Andy Dinsdale, a regular on the waters around St Barth.
Posted on 28 Sep
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ gaining speed on the water + Video
There has been one predominant focus at Emirates Team NZ this past couple of months - gaining speed on the water There has been one predominant focus at Emirates Team New Zealand this past couple of months - gaining speed on the water. The team has been lying low, quietly chipping away and making gains on the water on their first in house designed and built AC45 test boat.
Posted on 28 Sep
RS Aerocup - Another magic day at Lake Garda - Day 2
Per Christian continued his domination with a string of firsts showing magical downwind speed through the waves. Per Christian of Norway continued his domination with a string of firsts showing magical downwind speed through the waves.
Posted on 25 Sep
2016 Star Sailors League Finals – Count down to Nassau
The reigning Star World Champion, Miami's Augie Diaz (USA) will be competing in Nassau but is yet to announce his crew. As always the top 12 skippers in the SSL Ranking for the year are invited to challenge and join 13 VIPs sailors selected for the successes achieved in their sailing career.
Posted on 22 Sep
Southern Spars en route to Monaco – Stand QSE2
It’s been another big year for the NZ based company, there's lots of exciting things to talk about the Monaco Yacht Show It’s been another big year for the New Zealand based company, giving us lots of exciting things to talk about at the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show like our two big projects Adix and Aquijo. Adix, the three-masted 65-metre Dykstra schooner, has been transformed by a rig refit by Southern Spars and Future Fibres.
Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup - Ken Read reflects on the recent World Series - Toulon
Commentator Ken Read on the recently completed round of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Toulon, France. North Sails President, Ken Read, doubles as a live commentator for the official TV feed from the America's Cup World Series. Here's his thoughts, from his blog on the North Sails website on the recently completed round of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Toulon, France. Read also looks ahead to the final round of the America's Cup World Series is Fukuoka, Japan and the strategies
Posted on 22 Sep
North Sails pays tribute to former owner Terry Kohler
Terry Kohler’s vision, leadership, and generosity will be felt within North Sails, and the sport for many years to come The North Sails Group is deeply saddened by the passing of Terry Kohler, owner of North Sails from 1984-2014. North Sails and all of its employees around the world would like to pass their condolences to the family Terry leaves behind, especially his wife Mary. Terry Kohler’s vision, leadership, and generosity will be felt within North Sails, and the sport for many years to come.
Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup - CNN Mainsail goes inside the teams in Bermuda and UK
CNN goes inside four of the America's Cup teams in Bermuda and Portsmouth, UK for an insight into the design processes Double Olympic Gold medallist and presenter of the outstanding CNN Mainsail series, Shirley Robertson, goes inside four of the America's Cup teams in Bermuda and Portsmouth, UK for an insight into the design processes and angles being pursued by the teams. Then she goes on the water and sees the design teams and sailing teams working together.
Posted on 20 Sep
WIM Series moves on to the US
Next week will see the WIM Series midway event, the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA. Next week will see the Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) midway event, the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA.
Posted on 19 Sep