The new 7.3 RIB for Shelly Beach, put through her paces during sea trials today, was funded by a bequest from the Estate of the Late Rob Duncan and will be named “Spirit of Dawn” in honour of his late wife who predeceased him.
The Spirit of Dawn was launched at Oceana Power Boat Club in Table Bay today by the NSRI Operations team with Shelly Beach Station Commander Pieter Coetzee and Regional Director Eddie Noyons in attendance. Gavin Scholz and Bev Richards, friends of the Late Rob Duncan also went to sea on her.
Rob Duncan, a fourth child and only son, was named for his maternal Grandfather – Robert Mercer, and his uncle William Mercer, both of whom had died at sea (torpedoed in World War 1) before Rob was born. Both were ships engineers working in Merchant Navy Convoys bringing food to the UK. Robert Mercer’s ship was sunk in 1917 and his son, William Mercer’s ship was sunk in 1918 just before the war ended. Robert Mercer was particularly brave – at over 67yrs old he was a volunteer. He was drowned because – as Chief Engineer – he went back down to the engine room to see if any of his staff were still there, though he had been up on deck when the ship was struck.