Saturday, 26 April 2008

GRACE RITCHIE - 70-002

The privately-owned former lifeboat GRACE RITCHIE was seen this afternoon heading from her base at Largs Marina to the Holy Loch. This fine-looking craft was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders using a £57,000 legacy from a Miss Grace Paterson Ritchie, after whom the lifeboat was named at a ceremony at Wemyss Bay pier in 1965. Some details of her career can be found here, while an article about a rescue she took part in while based at Scapa in the Orkneys is described here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

From the link to Wemyss Bay where there is a little story about this vessel, you will find within the site, links to three BBC Radio Scotland broadcast excerpts about the loss of the Longhope lifeboat TGB, and for anyone who (like me) has difficulty getting these to play, here is a transcript of a little bit, spoken by one of the crew of 70-002 as they made their way out to the "Irene" that same night from Kirkwall...

...when we came to the Mull, there was Billy Sinclair, myself and Ian Thomson in the wheelhouse. Ian was on the throttles, I was on the wheel, Billy was on the radar, and we were just off the Mull when the boat started to rise up, just like going up a steep hill, and we went up, and up and up and we never actually got to the top of the wave, we burst through it and the boat actually fell nine… we reckoned about nine seconds, and the powers that be reckoned that that sea was in the region of 120 feet. We went down on our knees in the wheelhouse thinking that the windows were going to come in, but nothing happened she went down and she just landed soft like a duck. We reckoned that this was the same sea that Dan and the Longhope boat must have hit down at Old Head...

A very scary story, told in a very quiet, matter-of-fact manner by one of the exceedingly brave men that went to sea that night.

Calllum Ives Design said...

My Dad RNLI Staff Coxswain Ian C. Ives was in command of 70-002 Grace Patterson Ritchie on the night the Longhope Lifeboat crew were lost. He recalls some of the worst seas he's ever seen in nearly 50 years as a sailor. At some stage in the night a wave did smash the wheelhouse windows, taking with it the aerials and radar and in some ways he felt they were lucky to get through without anything worse happening to them. He has immense respect for the sea handling qualities of 70-002 which he has no doubt allowed him and his crew to survive the mission that night. When all the bodies of the crew of TGB were recovered the coffins were kept overnight with my Dad in his cabin on 70-002 before taking them for the funeral, a sad time as he knew all the men personally. These days 70-002 is owned by an acquaintance of my Dad and we're hoping to arrange a re-union sometime in 2011, perhaps a the time of my Dad's 82nd birthday in March. Callum C. Ives