The Severn took a tremendous pounding alongside Green Lily but damage to the lifeboat was remarkably slight and almost entirely superficial – a resounding testimony to the strength of her Fibre Reinforced Composite hull.

There was some damage to the anchor stowage and a stanchion and short selection of toe rail had been torn from the deck, leaving the attachment flange still stuck to the deck. The toe rail is designed to fall in this way to avoid damage to the hull. There was also some damage to the fendering, a short section of which had been pulled away and in the region of the most severe impact there was a tiny area of delamination just 9in by 2in.

When the hull was examined from the inside, there was no sign of any damage whatsoever, and just two pints of water had entered through some slackened bolts through the deck.

All of her equipment functioned perfectly throughout the service.

The Michael and Jane Vernon Severn class lifeboat in actionPhoto: RNLI
The Michael and Jane Vernon Severn class lifeboat in action

Both the coxswain and the RNLI’s surveyor were in no doubt that the damage would have been far more severe on a conventional glassfibre lifeboat hull.

Hewitt remarked on the boat’s power in the conditions and, with the masterful understatement of lifeboat coxswains who have successfully dealt with 50ft breaking seas and Force 11 winds, he added ‘She did well, she’s amazingly strong’.