Two Workington lifeboat crewmen rescue three sailors getting back from Robin Rigg offshore wind farm (UK)

Dave McConnell and Ian McCormack were chugging back into Whitehaven Harbour aboard the Solway Spirit on July 29 when they noticed the stricken yacht trapped by rough seas against the pier.

They acted quickly and towed the yacht out to sea with the three men on board and then into the safety of the harbour.

The pair were honoured with a Take Care award from their employer E.ON at the official opening of the Robin Rigg windfarm yesterday.

Mr McConnell, of Causeway Road, Seaton, is skipper of the Solway Spirit, which transports staff and maintenance equipment out to Robin Rigg.

He said: “The boat was smashing against the pier. We pulled them out into safe water, got them alongside and took them into the harbour.

“They thought the boat was going to go down and they were really scared.”

Mr McCormack was unable to attend the ceremony.

Catherine Dumbill, 12, of Bridekirk, was guest of honour at the windfarm’s official opening in a marquee on the harbour.

She unveiled a plaque that will be displayed on the company’s permanent port headquarters, where 40 staff are employed.

The windfarm will be in place for at least 20 years, producing on average enough electricity to supply half the homes in Cumbria.

Project manager Ian Johnson said the Solway Firth weather was the biggest challenge for developers. In 2007, it dislodged a stationary barge and staff had to be evacuated. The barge was damaged and progress was delayed by several weeks.

He said it is possible the life of the windfarm would be extended as Crown Estates was extending leases on the land to around 50 years.

There is room for an extension that would double the size of the 60-turbine array.

Michael Lewis, European head of E:ON renewables said: “There is potential for more turbines in the Solway Firth, but we have a number of projects we’re working on.”

The project cost £350m, which the company will claw back through premium tariffs on the renewable energy the turbines produce.



Source: newsandstar, September 16, 2010;