New crew, new name, new pilot boat at Falmouth Harbour

Two new crew members have joined or changed roles in the Falmouth Harbour Pilot Boat team in the run up to the Harbour taking delivery of its new £1.6M state-of-the-art pilot boat this summer – the name of which has been revealed as ‘Atlantic’.
Abi Rickard has joined Falmouth Pilot Boat team as deck hand and Ben Turner has been appointed Coxswain. Image: Falmouth Harbour

Both accomplished sailors and seasoned mariners, Ben Turner has stepped up to be appointed pilot boat Coxswain and Abi Rickard joins as deckhand with the Pilot Vessel crews which operate in all conditions 24/7, 365 days a year and complete more than 1,000 boardings and landings per year.

Ben says, “I’m really looking forward to getting behind the helm of our fantastic new Pilot Boat ‘Atlantic’ having recently been promoted up to Coxswain after a long and intense training period. I’ll be incredibly proud to be a Coxswain on one of the leading pilot vessels in the country and to be able to put her to the test in Falmouth’s unpredictable & often tricky conditions.”

‘Atlantic’ – now in the final stages of construction at Holyhead Marine – will be one of the cleanest, safest and most fuel-efficient pilot boats in the UK and as one of the few Tier 3 compliant pilot vessels operating in the country she will include features which help Falmouth Harbour meet its sustainability targets.

When in commission she will join the Falmouth Harbour Pilot vessel fleet alongside the 16.7m Arrow – a Halmatic built modern pilot vessel built in 2006 – and she will replace Falmouth’s 46-year-old pilot boat LK Mitchell which leaves the port for a gentler commercial role on the West Coast of Scotland in September.

“I’ve joined a fantastic team in a job I love,” says Abi. “I was working in the marine industry as a technical assistant, but I have my marine qualifications and wanted more time on the water, away from a desk, so this is perfect – it’s a real pleasure to come to work each day in this incredible Harbour.”

Free time for both Abi and Ben is out on the water too with Ben – a Clipper round-the-world sailor and sail-trainer – racing the 125 year old Falmouth Working Boat “Winnie” and Abi, who grew up racing and sailing around Poole in Dorset, either racing Flying Fifteens or her Ajax ‘Victory’.

Ben adds, “Falmouth is a stunning back drop to both work & sail in, surrounded by both historic and modern vessels of all sizes. Every day in the harbour is different and there’s always something going on. Being on a peninsula sticking out into the Atlantic we do see both ends of the weather spectrum and work in some incredibly demanding conditions, but this is a challenge we train hard for and it’s also incredibly rewarding.”

Falmouth Harbour CEO Miles Carden says, “Ben and Abi are further strengthening our incredible Falmouth Harbour team and we’re delighted to welcome them aboard. Our Pilot boat crews work tirelessly through all seasons and weathers to keep our Harbour open and safe to shipping. They deserve the best equipment as represented by our new pilot vessel Atlantic – which will be an incredible asset for the next 20-30 years.”

Falmouth Harbour Pilot Services operate the Falmouth Pilotage Area which spans from Black Head to the Dodman including Falmouth Bay, the Helford and Percuil rivers, the Carrick Roads and the River Fal. Falmouth Harbour also provides pilotage services to APCL group for Falmouth Docks and Cornwall Council’s Cornwall Harbours for the Ports of Penryn and Truro.  Falmouth Harbour Pilot Vessels work with the independent local Marine pilots to provide pilotage services.

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