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84 From left to right. Atlantic 85 B-875, Atlantic 75 B-795 and D class D-838 in training 27 August 2020 - photo: Stuart Millard.


on 7 July 2020. During that time the trial boat, an Atlantic 75, was launched 50 times, saved two lives and assisted 97 people. The Atlantic 75 lifeboat, B-795,


Staines Whitfield, answered 15 calls in 2020 until she was replaced after the trial by the larger and more powerful Atlantic 85, B-825, Norma Ethel Vinall, from the relief fleet at Poole. She became operational on 28 August 2020 and has since responded to 12 callouts by the year end. Only three weeks after


becoming the operational lifeboat she went to the aid of three large vessels in strong winds. Firstly, there was the dismasted yacht on the Skerries. The following day a single-handed sailor on a 45 ft. yacht requested help in the same area. He had suffered engine failure and was unable to make progress under sail.


The yacht was towed to Dartmouth Harbour. Exactly a week later a 45 ft. motor


vessel struck a rock as it left the Dart estuary and started to take on water. It needed all the power of the Atlantic 85 to tow her quickly to Darthaven Marina where she was lifted out of the water and the damage assessed. If these three incidents had occurred when there was only a D class inflatable lifeboat available the Coast Guard would


have had to task the all-weather Salcombe Tamar lifeboat to come from around Start Point. The Atlantic 85 was able to quickly respond to the vessel taking on water whereas, even at her top speed of 25kn, it would have taken some time for the Tamar to reach her. It is also considerably more expensive for the RNLI to launch an all-weather lifeboat than the B class. The most recent good news is


that Lee Darch and Yorkie Lomas, who have both been on the crew since the station opened, have been passed as helms for the D class lifeboat. That gives us a total of eight helms, thirteen lifeboat crew and four shore crew with others waiting in the wings for the Covid restrictions to be lifted.


42 ft. vessel, holed below the waterline, being towed to Darthaven Marina. 22 September 2020. photo: David Bown


Dartmouth RNLI visitor centre We are delighted to say that our RNLI visitor centre in Dartmouth has now reopened. Currently we are only able to offer retail facilities but hope to extend to the full visitor centre experience on or soon after the 17th May. However, our shop is full of exciting merchandise with some new lines and old favourites. We run exclusively with volunteers and for the next few weeks at least will only have a small number of our team available. This means that we will opening for reduced hours and days and these may vary depending on volunteer’s availability and public reaction as Covid rules are relaxed. We are also limiting visitors to four at any one time. We hope to be back to full opening after 1st June. We are looking for additional volunteers, so if you are interested,


(no experience or specific RNLI knowledge necessary) please contact me at tracey.lucas@hotmail.co.uk We look forward to welcoming back our visitors. Tracey Lucas, Volunteer Manager, RNLI Visitor Centre, Dartmouth


News, details of launches, photographs and videos can be found on the Dart station website. www.dartlifeboat.org.uk or the station Facebook page www.facebook.com/dartrnlilifeboat


John Fenton RNLI Dart Lifeboat Press officer jsfdartrnli@btinternet.com


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