The Severn Sea, The Bristol Channel, The Atlantic Ocean, East Nash Buoy, Nash Point, St. Donats, Llantwit Major, 51º23'53.02"N 3º34'13.92"W
An emotional end
Thursday the 27th of June, 2013 marked the end of a 50 year project. In the early 1960's a ground breaking ideas was started when the gates of St. Donats Castle opened as the first United World College, Atlantic College. It was the result of some brilliant thinking by Kurt Hahn (see http://www.uwc.org/ for more information) and many other peoples vision and rigor, one of whom was the first Head Master, Real Admiral Desmond Hoare. Hoare's role included the development of the first Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat; RIB (http://www.atlanticcollege.org/news-1/2010/05/25/the-rib-by-david-sutcliffe/) to learn more click the link.
I will not go in to detail here as it is a lengthy story, so I will just report on the final chapter.
The RNLI have owned the patent for the RIB after buying it from Atlantic College for £1 back in the seventies. Since then they have developed and evolved the design of one of the most successful SAR boats in the history of Lifeboating, it has also succeeded as the most popular boat in the world of sea faring and outstrips the success of any other type of boat on the market.
The Atlantic Class Lifeboat (named after its birth place) is now in its third evolution, from 21, to 75 and now 85 (the numbers indicating its length, 21feet, 7.5 and 8.5 Meters) Atlantic Colleges departing boat was an Atlantic 75. The next step for AC would be to have an 85, however the implications of making this change meant an unrealistic upheaval and major alterations to the seafront. The point of view from the RNLI was that this project was no longer viable.
For those of us who have taken part in this incredible piece of history, this final event has come as a major disappointment. We have tried to resist this ultimate decision yet it appears the decision had been made and there was no room to maneuver.
I have been involved with AC lifeboat since the early 90's (and actually since childhood if you count watching the boat launch on regular occasion and also trying to get involved with the recovery and preparations of the boats which I group up next to).
This does not end the story however, it merely finishes a chapter. A new project is in hand and we have already started the ball rolling. I will update you all with details in future postings so keep clicking.
Above you see image of the last voyage of Atlantic College ILB, in the top and bottom image you can see me looking pretty glum about it all (behind the helm with the beard, possibly crying). Below you see some of the results of how we celebrated the end of an amazing experience.