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Tourism & Leisure
Tourism & Leisure
Historic Lifeboat Commissioned to Provide Pleasure Cruises in Eastbourne
Allchorn Pleasure Boats of Eastbourne are welcoming a new addition to their fleet in the form of ex-RNLI lifeboat ‘The Robert’.
Allchorn Pleasure Boats of Eastbourne are welcoming a new addition to their fleet in the form of ex-RNLI lifeboat ‘The Robert’.

Having been originally christened by HRH Princess Marina in May 1961, the 47 foot historic vessel is being re-launched in a special commissioning and dedication ceremony on Monday 3rd May at Sovereign Harbour Marina in Eastbourne, which will also pay tribute to her 31 years of active service.

Saving a total of 46 lives during her history, ‘The Robert’ received recognition for saving all nine crew aboard the yacht ‘Regardless’ during the Fastnet race in 1979, while stationed at Baltimore on the South coast of Ireland.

She will be entering service alongside ‘Southern Queen’ and the famous ‘William Allchorn’ named after the Allchorn family who started the business 142 years ago, and will be providing pleasure cruises from Eastbourne’s £50 million marina to national beauty spot Beachy Head.

A famous family within Eastbourne’s sea going community, the Allchorn’s have been part of the Eastbourne Lifeboat crew since 1833 with up to four family members in the crew at any one time.

Descendant Brian Allchorn will be attending the dedication service having served on Eastbourne Lifeboat from 1955 to 1960 and also as the great grandson of Edward Allchorn, the founder of Allchorn Pleasure Boats.

The only lifeboat in the country to have been formerly stationed in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, she is still close to her original condition and was the last of her Watson class on station duty. Having undergone a name change to ‘Harriet Claire’ and a period providing pleasure cruises on the River Loire in France, Allchorn Pleasure Boats decided to restore her to her original name of ‘The Robert’ following a period of refit and upgrading during the winter.

The company has an ongoing restoration and preservation programme, and over the coming years, Allchorn Pleasure Boats intends to restore her to an ‘as built’ condition and layout, so that she can operate as a true tribute to the professional dedication of Eastbourne’s lifeboat Coxswains and crews, past and present.

Christopher Laycock, Co-Director of Allchorn Pleasure Boats said “This is an exciting and important new venture for us at Allchorn Pleasure Boats. We intend that our new ‘Lifeboat Experience Cruises’ will demonstrate to members of the public some of the aspects of the voluntary work undertaken by R.N.L.I. lifeboat crews around our coast, and will therefore generate some additional support for the R.N.L.I. cause.”

Eastbourne Borough Council Spokesman for Culture, Councillor Mike Thompson said “This new boat is sure to be popular with residents and visitors alike. How often do the public get the chance to ride on a lifeboat. This innovative idea deserves to succeed – I am sure it will be a big hit”.

Every year thousands of passengers enjoy pleasure cruises on the ‘Southern Queen’ and ‘William Allchorn’ from their beach jetty near Eastbourne Pier to Beachy Head and its famous lighthouse, taking in a unique Sussex Downland Seascape.

As well as cruises to Beachy Head, ‘The Robert’ will also provide cruises to Eastbourne Pier, and The Royal Sovereign Light Tower to view shipping in The Channel. For more information on cruises visit or telephone 01323 410606.

For information on Eastbourne and accommodation telephone 01323 411400 or visit

The Recommissioning and Dedication ceremony is sponsored by Eastbourne Borough Council and The Priory Court Hotel, Pevensey.
27 April, 2004

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