Littlehampton’s new Atlantic 85 lifeboat is currently being built at the RNLI’s Inshore Lifeboat Centre in East Cowes, and is due to be delivered to her new home on 16 May.

The new boat is the latest version of the long established Atlantic series of B-Class lifeboats, first developed by the RNLI in the 1960s. She is a RIB – a rigid hulled boat with an inflated sponson – powered by twin 115hp outboard engines, and capable of speeds of more than 35 knots/40mph. She carries a crew of four and has a higher level of electronic navigational and communication equipment than the boat she replaces. This includes radio direction finding and radar, and like our current Atlantic 75 lifeboat Blue Peter 1, she will be self-righting.
The new lifeboat will be named after the donor Renée Sherman, who was originally from France and settled in the UK in the late 1940s. Her legacy funding the new lifeboat recognises her late husband’s support for the RNLI. The crew will embark upon training immediately that the new lifeboat arrives, and we anticipate that Renée Sherman will become operational by the end of the week, alongside Littlehampton’s D-Class lifeboat Ray of Hope. Blue Peter 1 will be withdrawn from service and depart Littlehampton at that time. A naming ceremony for the new lifeboat is planned for September.

Airbag Build-2-2

The inflatable sponson

Bulkheads in position-2-2

The hull structure

Deck being made ready for fitting-2-2

The deck takes shape

Sponson build-2-2

This may look like a pile of sticky-back plastic, but it will become the airbag which forms part of the self-righting system.
And when the jigsaw is finished…