Marine News

Sent in by John Kinsman, Operations Manager at St Monans Coastwatch, east Fife.

Atlantic race oarsman missed home comforts

A Fife submariner said he was looking forward to decent food and a good sleep after completing a 3,000 mile race across the Atlantic. Matthew Harvey from Kirkcaldy, Fife, and his team mates aboard the 28 foot row boat HMS Oardacious, celebrated a jubilant arrival in Antigua on Saturday evening January 18th after 36 days and 6 hours at sea.

The 33 year old from Kirkcaldy, rowed through the shark infested waters and huge waves as big as houses during the epic voyage as part of the Talisker whisky challenge. He and fellow oarsmen Hugh Mitchell-Heggs, Callum Fraser and Dylan Woods raised more than £100,000 for the Royal Naval and Royal Marines Charity to be used to help servicemen suffering from mental health problems.

As the team arrived in English Harbour they were met by family and friends including Matthew’s parents Bill and Lesley, and girlfriend Kirstie. The team left La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, on December 12th and spent Christmas in 25 knot winds in the north Atlantic. They completed 1.5 million strokes by keeping to a strict schedule of rowing for two hours and sleeping for two hours 24 hours a day. They burned an estimated 12,000 calories every day and lost around 20% of their body weight.

Despite the huge challenges, including Callum being thrown overboard when the boat capsized they witnessed some awe inspiring sights such as huge whales and night rainbows. They also managed to gain a famous fan in the form of Dame Judi Dench. Before setting off Matthew’s only experience of rowing was on a machine at the gym but he spent 150 hours training on water to prepare. Matthew said he was now looking forward to food. “All we have talked about is food and drink and sleep. Well done lads.”

Lifeboat crew faced 20ft swell during rescue

Rescuers were faced with 45 mph winds and rough seas during a mission to help a fishing trawler in trouble on the west highland coast. The trawler was taking on water 15 miles west of Kinlochbervie on Sunday 19th January. The rescue involved the Lochinver Lifeboat and Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter.

They were able to transfer a pump to the fishing trawler despite the 20ft swell and high winds, to help pump out water from the stricken vessel. RNLI Lochinver described the conditions as “a little challenging”. The fishing trawler’s three crew were able to use the salvage pump to reduce water levels on their vessel along with their own pumps.

Lochinver lifeboat escorted the trawler to Stornoway in Lewis where it was met by Coastguard teams. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the alarm was raised at about 1320. All three fishermen were landed safely.

News from Coastwatch St Monans

Coastwatch St Monans were on duty on New Year’s Eve at St Monans harbour providing safety cover for the annual New Year firework display at the village harbour which attracted over 300 locals and visitors alike despite the cold frosty night. During the event there was singing, dancing, and music along the harbour front plus a fantastic firework display and shortbread given out by children.
Coastwatch St Monans team on duty were operation manager John Kinsman, deputy manager Anne Kinsman and senior watch keeper/ first aid-er Karen Dodson. Picture shows the Coastwatch team on duty at the harbour.

In December the Coastwatch St Monans team appeared on German TV. The team were filmed as part of a programme about Scotland. The TV crew filmed the Coastwatch St Monans at their lookout base, a historic windmill, situated east of the village. They talked about their work keeping seafarers safe and did a mock rescue operation. John Kinsman said it was a privilege to work with the German TV crew and give an insight about the important work of Coastwatch teams around the coast.

Featured image shows the HMS Oardacious