Fastest lifeboat in fleet is heading for Staithes

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Staithes is to get the fastest lifeboat in the RNLI fleet after a series of successful trials were carried out in the harbour last week.

The Atlantic class 85 lifeboat was transported by road last Friday in a nine hour trip from the RNLI headquarters in Poole, Dorset.

Staithes RNLI crew and shore crew

Staithes RNLI crew and shore crew

It was brought from Whitby to Staithes by sea by the crew’s helm, Lee Jackson.

He was joined by his nine Staithes’ volunteer crew 
members, shore crew and back-up from Poole and Redcar RNLI to put the boat through its paces in a series tests.

As well as carrying out joint exercises at sea with Staithes’ present Atlantic 75 Pride of Leicester, the larger lifeboat had to be put through manouevres with a drive-on, drive-off launch carriage that was brought down Staithes’ narrow cobbled streets for the trial.

The final test was for the Staithes tractor to haul the Atlantic 85 and carriage up the curved slipway and house it in the boathouse on North Side before the Atlantic 85 finally returned by sea to Whitby for a nine hour road journey back to Poole.

Staithes RNLI tractor recovers Atlantic 85

Staithes RNLI tractor recovers Atlantic 85

Just last year the boathouse was given a £250,000 makeover so it could accommodate the larger lifeboat which, following the successful trials will be in situ in the next two to three years.

It will have a top speed of 35 knots - making it the fastest boat in the lifesaving organisation’s fleet.

Stephen Henderson, Divisional Technical Manager for the England North and Scotland South oversaw the day long programme.

He said: “The Atlantic 85 passed the trials with flying colours. In every category, it was a highly successful trial for the boat, the crews and the tractor recovery and launch.

“When it arrives for good in two or three years time, Staithes will have a faster, bigger, safer lifeboat. Unlike the present boat, it has radar which is a great help at night or in fog and it can take a crew of four instead of three.”