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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Skipjack K8 BS: Irish lifeboats (38) RE: BS: Irish lifeboats 04 Sep 06

I was standing on the shingle beach at West Mersea on the Essex coast, in a full gale Saturday last, watching an Essex smack (Sunbeam, for any like-minded anoraks) make very slow progress under motor into the wind, pitching and tossing with topmast still raised and towing the smack's boat, the crew visibly crawling round the decks. I felt that sick-to-the-pit-of-the-stomach feeling that the brave men and women who man lifeboats must feel as they watch the sky over the lifeboat station waiting for the flare to burst, summoning them to do what is surely the most un-natural act of putting to sea in the maelstrom.

It took a full hour for the smack to make the mile to the lea of Shinglehead Point, and fortunately no other mishap required the risk of a launch that tide, but although I am time-served at sea, I doubt I could live day-in, day-out responding to the crack of the flare.

All power to 'em.

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