5th October 2008

Guernsey lifeboat saved a Swedish schooner

A three-mast schooner with 40 people onboard had to be towed into St Peter Port by the Guernsey lifeboat on 5 October 2008. It was a Swedish vessel called Alva used to train student sailors, en route from England to Spain.

The boat had run into difficulties several hours earlier when it had got its rudder snared in netting. The crew tried to reach France but, with the weather getting worse, they started to drift towards rocks.

Initially, the Guernsey lifeboat wasn’t involved in the rescue at all. Instead, the Jersey boat set out to try and tow them to safety. When it had to return to base, without having attached a line to the Alva, the Guernsey lifeboat took over. It got a rope across to the schooner and towed it back to base. The rescue had taken about an hour.

The Alva

The 52m (170ft) Alva was built in Lodose, Sweden, in 1939. She had a library, conference rooms, sauna and a restaurant for 54 guests onboard.

When using her main engines rather than sails she can maintain a maximum continuous speed of 10 knots, but generally cruises at eight knots.

Other Alvas

Several ships called Alva have come to unfortunate ends. A tanker called the Alva Cape exploded in New York harbour and killed four on 28 June 1966. It was still burning on 3 July when the United States Navy scuttled it.

A schooner called the Alba Bradley sank on 13 October 1894, 24 years after its launch. She had started taking on water in a storm off North Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. It was one of several 61m (200ft) schooners built for sailing on the Great Lakes and is now used as a recreational diving site.


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Other events that occured in October

Guernsey Post Office was established 1st
Guernsey switched to Reichsmarks 2nd
Sark was the target of Operation Basalt 3rd
Sark voted for democracy 4th
Guernsey lifeboat saved a Swedish schooner 5th
Jeeves actor died in Guernsey 6th
Sarnia Theatre celebrated its most successful year 7th
The Story of Adele H opened in cinemas 8th
Howards’ Way came to Guernsey 9th
Guernsey Ladies’ College opened 10th
A Trislander ate itself between Jersey and Guernsey 11th
The Channel Islands’ king set sail for England 12th
Major General Sir Isaac Brock died 13th
Footballer Matt Le Tissier was born 14th
Island FM brings commercial radio to Guernsey 15th
Channel Television saw off a rival broadcaster 16th
The first mines were dug on Sark 17th
Sark’s Stocks Hotel was damaged by fire 18th
Elizabeth College’s foundation stone was laid 19th
Hitler ordered the Channel Islands’ fortification 20th
Guernsey’s stone crackers demanded a pay rise 21st
The desalination plant opened 22nd
Sir Charles Hayward buys Jethou for £91,000 23rd
Guernsey Monopoly board game went on sale 24th
Dame Sibyl Hathaway chose her Desert Island Discs 25th
GUNS founder Charles Machon died 26th
Bailiff Sir Peter de Havilland was born 27th
A man “disappeared” from a Guernsey ferry 28th
Express & Star bought Guernsey Press 29th
The first lighthouses were built on the Casquets 30th
States of Guernsey voted to lower the voting age 31st