New lifeboat arrives in Hunstanton

The Spirit of West Norfolk arrives at new Hunstanton home

The Hunstanton lifeboat crew have been getting to know a new member of the team this week - a �130,000 Atlantic 85 boat.

The Spirit of West Norfolk arrived at its new home on Wednesday and the crew have been out on the water to get to know the state-of-the-art boat which was paid-for through local donations.

With a top speed of around 35 knots (40mph), the new lifeboat is a shade faster than the previous Atlantic 75 - but is packed full of the latest technology.

Members of the Hunstanton crew have received in-house training on the new boat and are still getting to grips with her.

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'They've had two days instruction on getting them used to the boat and there will be more training,' said Geoff Needham, press officer for the station.

The Spirit of West Norfolk carries the latest electronic equipment, including radar, and can carry a crew of four.

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'It gives a bit more of a comfortable ride than the old boat,' said Mr Needham.

It has two inversion-proof 115hp Yamaha petrol engines and is fitted with a manual righting system which, along with the engines, allows her to remain operational even if she capsizes.

Hunstanton's former boat, the DJS Haverhill was launched in 1998. It was named in memory of David James Sissons who had previously lived in the Suffolk town and bequeathed �25,000 towards the boat. An anonymous National Lottery winner donated an equal amount to complete the funds.

The new Atlantic 85 is bigger than its predecessor and the boathouse needed to be modified to accommodate her before she was delivered.

It had been hoped the Spirit of West Norfolk would arrive at her new home earlier in the year, but building work at the boathouse was delayed by the freezing weather during December.

The work on the house was funded separately by an anonymous donation from an RNLI supporter.

Mr Needham said the public appeal in 2006 to fund the new boat brought in around �150,000 in total and the extra money had gone towards equipment.

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