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Historic day for Porthdinllaen RNLI as £2.7M lifeboat sails home
Danielle Rush

Historic day for Porthdinllaen RNLI as £2.7M lifeboat sails home
Testing the new Tamar Class Lifeboat
Excitement is mounting in north Wales as final preparations are put in place for the arrival of Porthdinllaen’s modern new Tamar class lifeboat. She will sail into in Morfa Nefyn for the very first time on Monday (20 August). The new lifeboat John D Spicer began its journey from the RNLI’s Headquarters in Poole, Dorset on Friday (17 August). A selection of RNLI volunteers from the station spent last week undertaking Pre-Commission Training at the RNLI’s purpose build Lifeboat College at Poole in Dorset to get to grips with every aspect of the new lifeboat. On Friday, they began their passage to north Wales, which visited in Falmouth, Rosslare and Arklow before heading up towards Porthdinllaen on Monday afternoon.

The new lifeboat will be given quite a welcome when she arrives home for the very first time. Porthdinllaen RNLI Coxswain Mike Davies said excitement is mounting:

‘When the new lifeboat comes around the headland for the very first time, I know there will be gasps from everyone who have turned out to welcome her. Bringing her home will definitely be one of the highlights of my career and a very proud moment. This really is a fantastic boat and I have every confidence that she will serve us well and help us to save more lives off Porthdinllaen.

‘For the RNLI crew safety is paramount and this is a lifeboat which has been very carefully designed to enable volunteers to go to sea in the safest possible way. It is also faster than our current Tyne class lifeboat and has many features that will aid search and rescue. Training to get to grips with this new lifeboat has been quite intensive and will continue now the new lifeboat is on station.’

The Tamar will replace the Tyne class lifeboat Hetty Rampton which entered service at Porthdinllaen in 1987. Since then she has launched 315 times, rescued 328 people and saved 52 lives. The Tyne class lifeboat will sail out to greet the new Tamar and bring her safely home. Porthdinllaen’s Tamar has been funded by the generous bequest of the late Mr John Dominic Spicer, from Oxfordshire who died on the 7 October 2010. At the request of the executors the lifeboat is to be named RNLB John D Spicer. The boat will be temporarily kept on a mooring whilst work to build a new boathouse at the Morfa Nefyn site gets underway.

The Tamar features the latest technology to enhance its lifesaving capabilities. Compared to the Tyne class lifeboat, the Tamar is bigger – 16 metres as opposed to 14 – and has a faster response time, with a speed of 25, rather than 17 knots.

The Tamar includes the computerised Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) that enables crew to control many of the lifeboat's functions remotely from the safety of their seats. Other features include advanced ergonomics, that reduce the impact on the crew as the lifeboat crashes through waves, and a powered Y boat stored behind a transom door to allow immediate deployment.   The first Tamar to go on service in Wales went on station at Tenby in 2006, followed by Angle in 2009.

The new lifeboat will be welcomed with a BBQ and entertainment from 6pm onwards this evening.

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