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Baltimore’s retired Coxswain Kieran Cotter on the RNLI’s 200 Voices podcast
200 Voices an RNLI podcast

‘We were looking for a needle in a haystack’

Episode 13 – Kieran Cotter: the Calm Before the Force 10

It was the race that changed yacht racing. RNLI Baltimore’s Kieran Cotter on the Fastnet tragedy of 1979.

Former Baltimore RNLI Coxswain Kieran Cotter joined the RNLI when he was just 19, and would go on to receive an RNLI Bronze Medal for Gallantry. In August 1979, Kieran and his fellow crew members were called to aid sailors competing in the Fastnet Race, in which 5 yachts sank and 15 lives were lost. The shout to the yacht Regardless was just the start of what would be a 22-hour mission.

For 200 years, RNLI volunteers have been ready to launch into raging seas, not knowing when – or if – they will return home. For more legendary rescues, listen to Graham Drinkwater's memories of the Nafsiporos recue (Episode 109) and the late Michael Scales on the Bonita rescue (Episode 119).