We have all heard the old adage that you can stand around for hours waiting for a bus and then two come along at the same time. It can seem a little like that sometimes for lifeboat crews on permanent alert. It certainly was such a situation one Sunday last December.
On Sunday morning 4 December the RNLI Sennen Cove inshore lifeboat Amy Brown launched on service at 11.10 am. The crew launched as a precaution to cover four kayakers who were making slow progress against the very strong offshore winds in an attempt to get back to the Cove. Eventually they all made it safely back ashore and the inshore lifeboat was recovered at 11.20 am. The weather was fine, but the easterly winds were gusting over 40 knots, not really ideal conditions for canoes! The inshore lifeboat was crewed by Tom Nicholas and Nick Hichens.
Later that same day in the evening the Station received a call from HM Coastguard Falmouth, following a radio message from a single- handed vessel in difficulties west of Cape Cornwall. The vessel was also without lights. No more information was available since radio contact had been lost and could not be re-established. The City of London III launched at about 10.00 pm to go to her assistance. The vessel was quickly detected on radar, just to the northwest of the Cove. The lifeboat escorted the single-handed yacht to a safe overnight anchorage in the Cove. The weather was mainly fine with an east wind force 6 or 7. The crew were Terry George (Coxswain), Gary Stanbury, Dan Shannon, Kirstan Gorvin, Richard Puddiphat, Owen Matthews, and Rob Spence.
On Christmas Day, it was the annual Sennen swim. Well in excess of 300 brave souls turned up from far and wide. There was great enjoyment all round. It is worth a mention that a volunteer inshore lifeboat crew and shore crew were on stand-by during the morning in case anyone got into difficulties. Fortunately their assistance wasn't needed.
On 9 December, our Lifeboat Operations Manager John Chappell retired after many years in the post. John's local and professional knowledge has benefited the Station a great deal over the years, and his wise counsel has been very much appreciated. Pager-less golf and a ceaseless quest to send his Morse code around the world will no doubt keep him occupied! Phil Shannon, who retired recently as 2nd coxswain - having achieved the distinction of being at the time the longest serving lifeboat man in the RNLI - has assumed the mantle of Lifeboat Operations Manager. With his deep and lifelong knowledge of Sennen Cove and experience of lifeboat work, Phil will ensure that the vital lifesaving work of the Station and its crew will continue in the best traditions of the Institution.