New meets old off Redcar

It was a case of new meeting old when the Redcar lifeboat came across a former RNLI lifeboat more than 40 years its senior while out on a routine training run on Sunday 27 August 2017.

The volunteer RNLI crew was at sea familiarising itself with new navigation and communications equipment fitted to the station’s Atlantic 85 class lifeboat during a three month overhaul at the RNLI’s Inshore Lifeboat Centre on the Isle of Wight.

Helmsman Cameron Bond explains: ‘We’d launched to train on the new navigation kit our lifeboat has now, and we spotted what looked like an old lifeboat on the horizon.

‘We streamed over to it and we found it was an old Oakley class lifeboat. The crew told us it was built in 1969. It was used by the RNLI until 1987 when it was taken out of service.

‘By our standards, although she’s big, her equipment would have been very basic compared to what lifeboats carry now.

‘They had just bought her and were taking her to a boatyard further up the coast to start a restoration project.’

Cameron Bond added: ‘It was making pretty good speed really, probably eight or nine knots, considering how old it was. They were heading for Hartlepool for lunch before they carried on up the coast.’

The 48-foot (14.8m) wooden-hulled Oakley class lifeboat, named ‘Charles Henry’, began its service in 1969 at Selsey, West Sussex and at Baltimore, County Cork before being retired from active service in 1987. It has been in private hands since. The Oakley class lifeboats were named after Richard Oakley, the RNLI naval architect who designed them in the 1950s and 1960s.