Falmouth pilot boat coxswain retires
9:30am Friday 3rd August 2012 in In Port
Falmouth pilot boat coxswain and former second coxswain of the Falmouth lifeboat, Roger McClarity, retires next week at the age of 65, after a 50-year association with the sea.
Born and bred in the port, Roger is a well-known and much respected waterfront man who spent his childhood days afloat in Falmouth Quay punts with Sid Timmins, Janner Snell and Leonard Morrison, tending ships in the bay and taking coasters to the quarry ports of Dean and Porthoustock.
Roger joined the Royal Navy in 1964 when he left school. His first training establishment was HMS Ganges for 12 months before transferring to HMS Mercury the Navy’s communications school where he trained to be a radio operator.
He has served on the cruiser HMS Lion, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle and the frigates London, Lincoln, Aurora, and Battleaxe to name but a few. His last job with the grey-funnel line was shore-side working as a chief petty officer in the Fleet Headquarters at Northwood.
Roger was a lifeboat man for 15 years, the last five years serving as deputy second coxswain and second coxswain.
Over the years he has been involved in numerous lifeboat rescues. He particularly remembers the tug Dido being rescued in the Manacles some years ago during an easterly gale.
“I had spent a week in Dover as relief coxswain on their Severn Class boat and had just arrived back in Falmouth when we had the call to go to the Dido’s rescue,” said Roger. “She was slap bang in the middle of the Manacles.”
He joined the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners in 1988 a year after leaving the Navy. The job of pilot boat coxswain requires consummate skill, superb seamanship and a cool head on a daily basis whilst boarding and landing pilots to ships in all winds and weathers. On behalf of Falmouth’s pilots both past and present I personally wish to thank Roger for safely boarding and landing us thousands of times without incident during his 24 years of service with the commissioners.
Roger said: “I have enjoyed my time as a pilot boat coxswain. Each day is challenging, either from a weather point of view or from the ever-changing world of shipping.
“You never know what to expect. One minute you are off to a luxury cruise ship the next ship could be a casualty. All of the watches have to be team players in this job. “ Roger and his wife Helen live in Trevethan Road, Falmouth. They have two sons – Mark, an engineer, and Neil who works for Seacore.