ireland Rescue from Fastnet Yacht Race


13-aug-79    to    14-aug-79

The 1979 Fastnet Race was the final leg in a 5 race series for the Admirals Cup. The course ran from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, around the Fastnet Rock off the SW tip of Ireland and finished back in Plymouth. The contestants left Cowes for the 600 mile race on 11 Aug 1979.

A storm blew up in the Celtic Sea on 13 Aug with tragic consequences for many crews and their inadequately equipped yachts. Helicopters from Brawdy, Chivenor and RNAS Culdrose, Nimrods from RAF Kinloss, Dutch and Irish warships plus French, German, British and Irish ships all helped in the rescue. Only 85 of the 303 yachts taking part made it home; 75 of the 179 rescued were lifted by helicopter.

Accident-prone MP John Nott (the UK Secretary of State for Defence in 1981/82 whose planned emasculation of the Royal Navy was shown to be folly by the Falklands conflict) was at the time asleep at the wheel as minister responsible for safety at sea.


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DatesRotary Wing Aircraft UnitModels
    13aug79 to 14aug79 UK 706 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Sea King
    13aug79 to 14aug79 UK 771 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Wessex
    13aug79 to 14aug79 UK 824 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Sea King

Not all models shown may have taken part in the Operation

Individual helicopters

Model IDs
Westland Sea King HAS.1 XV670     XV697     XV707    
Westland Wessex HU.5 XT467     XT474     XT482     XT761    


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Destroyer  Friesland class   Royal Netherlands Navy D815 Hr.Ms. Overijssel,

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