Rowing lifeboat re-enactment to commemorate Lusitania sinking and rescue


A contemporary illustration shows the Lusitania sinking as Irish fishermen and lifeboats race to the rescue (from the Wikipedia)

The Courtmacsherry RNLI crew is organising a series of events to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania by German U-boat U-20 early in the Great War on the 7th May 1915.

A part of the County Cork village’s commemoration will be a re-enactment of the the call to service in which volunteers will row a lifeboat of the era 12 nautical miles to the disaster site.

The Cunard ocean liner RMS Lusitania went down 11 miles (18 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 and leaving 761 survivors. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, contributed to the American entry into World War I and became an iconic symbol in military recruiting campaigns of why the war was being fought.

According to the Wikipedia, argument over whether the ship was a legitimate military target raged back and forth throughout the war as both sides made claims about the ship’s cargo – several attempts to dive on the wreck to seek information have been made over the years, and the argument continues to the present day.

The re-enactment will use the Polperro Lifeboat Trust’s lifeboat Ryder, which is an engineless restored pulling and sailing lifeboat built in 1902, and very similar to the lifeboat Kezia Gwilt stationed at Courtmacsherry in 1915.

The commemoration will also include exhibitions at Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Station and the local Community Hall, and a commemeration dinner.

The local organisers are appealing for artefacts, stories and memorabilia to include in the exhibitions – they would love to hear from any family members of those lost or saved in the Lusitania tragedy. If you can help, contact them at Loaned memorabilia or artefacts will be receipted by the curators and will be returned to owners after the exhibition.

Other Lusitania centenary commemorations are to be held nearby at Cobh, the Old Head of Kinsale, and Kinsale – see the Visit Cork County website.

Tiernan Roe of Roeboats issues his newsletter – while his boats star in the Game of Thrones

Tiernan Roe microcruiser workshop

It’s always good to hear of a boat builder, repairer and restorer is busy despite the straightened and worrying times in which we live. Here’s Tiernan Roe’s newsletter about the doings at Roe Boats down at Ballydehob, County Cork:

Well it’s been a busy few months here at Roeboats. I’m currently finishing up the interior refit of a Squib keel boat, all of the wooden interior has been replaced with low weight plywood and epoxy coated to limit water absorption and hopefully keep the boat as a light as possible. Of course a fiberglass hull is going to be heavier than a wooden one and probably absorb as much water. Doing this job has reminded me of how much I dislike fiberglass as a material.

I’ve also been spending much of my free time developing plans for the Belfast Lough One DesignJewel‘ class designed by Linton Hope. There’s not much information available about either the designer or the boats, but I think they could be excellent day-sailers/classic racers for the 21st century. More anon. [Read about the Jewels in Folkard on pages 309-312.]

I’ve also been busy building a 16ft micro cruiser for a repeat client. It’ll be a one-person, self righting, yawl-rigged sharpie very similar to the Catbird I built in 2010. I should have the planking finished soon: she’s scheduled for a May launching, just in time for summer.

Other news is that the boats I built for the HBO Game of Thrones TV series are featured in the trailer for season 3, which is way cool (I’ll have to get a tuxedo for all of the Oscars I might win). Watch it here you’ll see the boat around the middle of the clip, don’t blink or you’ll miss it. It’s the one on fire.

That’s all for now, next issue will most likely include the launching of the boat above and a schedule of where you can see some Roeboats on the water during the Summer.

Tiernan can be reached by phone (tel +353 (0)28 38973 and +353 (0)86 158 6937 [mobile]) and via his website.

I must say I’m amused about the Game of Thrones thing… I never imagined I’d be posting about it!