Launch and recovery design member visits Bridlington RNLI
Member of design team of the Launch and Recovery System visits Bridlington RNLI
One of the original members of the Shannon Launch and Recovery System (SLARS) designers, Malcolm Hastie, paid a visit to Bridlington RNLI last Wednesday (2 October) in order to see the system in action, launching the Bridlington all-weather boat Antony Patrick Jones on exercise.
Malcolm, who attended with his wife Kate, was working at the time for Rexroth (Bosch Rexroth) a hydraulics company and was part of the design team that was commissioned by Supacat Ltd, more commonly known for making military vehicles, with the initial design of the product that would eventually become SLARS. Clayton Engineering Ltd who have been building launch and recovery system for the RNLI for over 40 years were initially rivals of Supacat were also working on a rival prototype. As Supacat were essentially a development company the design was eventually passed over to Clayton to put SLARS into production.
Back in 1899 it took 20 men and 18 horses to haul a 10-tonne lifeboat. Now 123 years later, it takes 6 men around 15-20 minutes for the all-weather lifeboat to leave the boathouse at Bridlington and be out on the sea on a launch using the SLARS which weighs in at a whopping 37 tonnes. This is all thanks to Malcom and many others who were involved in the design and creation of the SLARS system.
During his visit, Malcolm and his wife were given a tour of the all-weather lifeboat and also witnessed both the lifeboat and the SLARS in action with a full launch and later recovery. Malcolm also brought with him a few photographs on the prototype of the SLARS which has developed into the machine the RNLI use today.
Speaking after the visit to Bridlington Lifeboat Station, Malcom stated ‘It is a tough one to say what I enjoyed most, the whole evening was a great experience. I was particularly taken with the warmth of the welcome and the interest shown by the crew. It was lovely to see that something that I worked on has become a useful piece of kit and, on a lighter note, it was nice to show my wife something of my work. I have to say that even I was impressed to see it in action, really doing the job it was designed for. Seeing it in use to rescue people makes it the most satisfying project I have ever worked on, to have even a small part in that makes me proud’.
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