A return to Dunmore East 40 years after 1979 Fastnet Disaster

To commemorate their rescue and say thanks to all the people of Dunmore East who assisted Mathew Power of the yacht “Autonomy” will be on Thursday night in Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.

Mathew and his sister Frances are survivors of the 1979 Fastnet Yacht Race. Their yacht Autonomy was towed into Dunmore East by the Dunmore East lifeboat in company with another yacht called Locomotion.

Mathew says “We were all very grateful indeed to the Coxswain and crew of the Dunmore East Lifeboat for assisting us after the horrific disaster. We would also like to express our thanks to all the inhabitants of Dunmore East and members of the Waterford Sailing Club who turned out in the middle of the night to give us accommodation and much needed Guinness and refreshments. It is something neither my sister and I will ever forget”.

It is now 40 years on and Mathew has returned to Dunmore East with his wife and son and would like to pay their respects to the Coxswain and crew of the RNLI who rescued them . In addition they would like to visit and personally thank the family who looked after us throughout our stay in Dunmore East.

Mathew can’t remember the name of the family who he stayed with; he would be very grateful for any information anybody may have !

Mathew will be in the clubhouse on Thursday at 21.00 hours after cruiser racing. I am sure he can tell a tale or two of this eventful night. All the lifeboat crew on board the lifeboat during this night will be joining us



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1 Comment

  1. I well remember that night. We had been aware of the difficult conditions that the yachts were having from both the BBC and Radio Eireann news. When we heard that the lifeboats from all the South of Ireland stations had been launched Jack Cooke (commodore) and I met and we felt it important to make some preparations to offer assistance to any crews rescued. Soup, sandwiches, dry clothes, and other essentials were assembled in the clubhouse and with the help of the Harbour master Commander Grennell and Lifeboat cox Stephen Whittle accommodation for rescued crew was found.

    The clubhouse was manned throughout the night and we heard some some of the drama on the VHF. I think that we gave assistance to over 25 crew members that night and heard some of their experiences.The one story that sticks in my memory over all others was the skipper with a bad gash on his head which he got when hit by the chain flying up out of the chain locker. But he was one of the lucky ones 19 seafarers lost their lives. May they rest in peace.

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