On This Day in Trinity House History – 4 October


First lightvessel relief by helicopter

The Smith’s Knoll became the first lightvessel to have its crew changed by helicopter.

The lightvessel was specially adapted and fitted with a helicopter platform at the yard of Swan Hunter Ship Repairers (Tyne) Ltd. The actual transfer is carried out by winching individual crew members to and from the platform, and it is planned to continue the experiment at fortnightly intervals for the next six months, to test the suitability of the operation under Winter conditions. The first crew members to take to the air were: Mr. Frank Harrison, the incoming Master, and Lightsmen Mr. Jack Akester and Mr. John Griffin.

The experiment was part of a review into the most efficient and economical means of servicing aids to navigation.

No 4 LV relief helicopter 1972_1 4 Oct first LV relief by helicopter

No 4 LV relief helicopter 1972_1 4 Oct first LV relief by helicopter


On This Day in Trinity House History – 7 September


Trinity House Lightvessel Crew Helps a Stranded Yachtsman

The following appeared in Flash magazine:

“On Tuesday, 5th September, 1972, Mr. Eric Sundberg, aged 62, a lone yachtsman from Stockholm, Sweden, tied up astern of the Smith’s Knoll Light Vessel. He was short of drinking water, after losing much of it during a stormy crossing of the Baltic. Mr. Sundberg boarded the Light Vessel in order to explain, in broken English, his requirements, and turned to find his yacht drifting away in the twilight, on the strong tide! Radio messages were sent by the Master of the Smith’s Knoll, and shortly afterwards his yacht Marelena was picked up by a Belgian Fishery Protection Vessel and towed safely into Great Yarmouth Harbour.

Next day, THV Mermaid arrived, in the normal course of her duties, at the Smith’s Knoll, and took Mr. Sundberg aboard. He was later landed at Great Yarmouth where he was reunited with his yacht.

This experienced sailor made everyone, including the Customs Officials, feel embarrassed by his expressions of gratitude, and self-condemnation!!”