Video taster as I joined Falmouth RNLI on exercise in 50kts+ of wind

As I drove down the A30 in the dark towards Falmouth early on Sunday morning my car was buffeted by the strong winds that blasted across Bodmin Moor. Dark, wet and breezy, with a forecast for some pretty fruity weather for the day, this was surely the best time to go on exercise with the RNLI.

A quick check of the shipping forecast shortly before I left revealed everything I needed to know without reading a single line of the text, as all but one of the shipping areas was coloured in red on the Met Office’s web site.

I arrived at 8am and as I waited for the crew to arrive I had another look at the shipping forecast, this time reading it.

‘Southerly 6 to gale 8, occasionally severe gale 9 in west.’

Ah well, if you have to go to sea in that, there can be few if any better vessels to do it in than one of the RNLI’s flagship Severn class lifeboats. As I waited I ran through what might be in store for the day and how I could best record what it feels like to ride with the RNLI.

It was difficult to know what to expect, although I have been aboard lifeboats before, I’ve never been out to sea in one. Yet what I wasn’t expecting was for the crew to show so little interest in the forecast. As we chatted over coffee and prepared to head out for a morning’s training, no one mentioned the forecast conditions – not a word, at least not to me.

Now I’m not saying that they hadn’t considered the conditions, I’m sure they had, but when you’re talking about an all-weather lifeboat, the sea state plays a far bigger part in proceedings than the breeze.

What followed was an extraordinary and fascinating day, on and off the water. A day that was the first of a few where I will be based with the Falmouth RNLI crew as part of a major forthcoming feature for the

In the meantime, here’s a short snippet of what things looked like from bridge as we headed back to base after the exercise with coxswain Mark Pollard at the helm – It’s far easier going downhill at 20kts in 50kts+ of wind than it was going uphill.