Llandudno’s new lifeboat finally arrived in North Wales - but not before she was pressed into service to assist in a rescue off Anglesey.
The new £2.2 million RNLI Shannon-class lifeboat William F Yates was on four-day passage from the RNLI headquarters at Poole, when she was called to help Moelfre and Beaumaris lifeboats rescue the crew off a superyacht which had struck a rock in Moelfre Bay.
A few hours after she had left Kilmore Quay in Ireland on Saturday on the last leg of her 400-mile delivery voyage from Poole to North Wales, she was rounding Anglesey's Point Lynas, en route to Conwy, when at the request of Holyhead Coastguard she was diverted to assist two other RNLI lifeboats already attending a vessel in distress.
Moelfre and Beaumaris lifeboats had been called out earlier to assist a 70-foot Sunseeker craft which was taking in water. Both lifeboats had transferred pumps to the casualty but these were only just keeping the ingress at bay.
The William F Yates passed another pump to the stricken vessel to help reduce flooding in its engine room and stood by while a line was passed to tow the vessel to Beaumaris. She then continued her passage to Conwy marina to be moored before the final leg of the voyage to her new home in Llandudo, where she arrived noon on Sunday.
Although the William F Yates was not yet on station at her new home, this was her third experience of action - whilst another Llandudno crew were training aboard the lifeboat out of Poole last month they carried out two rescues of leisure craft in difficulties in dangerous situations, in the Solent and off Poole Harbour.
The home-coming was watched by members of the town’s 60-strong volunteer lifeboat team along with thousands of local people, holidaymakers and day trippers on the promenade, in addition to more spectators aboard jet skis, motor cruisers, kayaks and other craft in the bay.
On board throughout the journey from Poole had been Llandudno’s coxswain Graham Heritage, second coxswain Tim James, mechanic Les Jones, assistant mechanic Luke Heritage and crewman Mike Jones, accompanied by RNLI Fleet staff coxswain Andrew McHaffie. On her way to North Wales the lifeboat had made overnight stops at Brixham, Newlyn, Kilmore Quay in Ireland and Conwy.
After arriving in the bay escorted by the resort’s current all-weather lifeboat Andy Pearce and inshore lifeboat Dr Barbara Saunderson the new lifeboat proceeded to give a demonstration of her capabilities and manoeuvrability before being beached prior to being transferred into the new lifeboat station.
Speaking later, Coxswain Heritage said “Over the past few weeks a number of our crew members have been undergoing training at sea on Shannon-class lifeboats, working out of the RNLI College at Poole. All of us have been greatly impressed with the lifeboats’ manoeuvrability, sea-keeping qualities, speed and on-board equipment. I and my crew for the voyage home had therefore been looking forward immensely to bringing the William F Yates to Llandudno; during our four day passage to North Wales we found the lifeboat exceeded our expectations in every respect, and we felt honoured and proud to be bringing her into the bay for the first time today“.”