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Updated July 2012

Report on trip of R.A.F. Boat No 200

9 June 1934

R.A.F. 200 left Southampton Water for Plymouth, her present station, on Saturday, June 6th, at ten minutes to eleven in the morning, carrying a special crew of five R.A.F. personnel, and nearly twice her normal capacity of petrol and stores. Wind S.W., freshening to 20 miles an hour. Tide contrary. Sea choppy.

Engines first set at 2300 to Hurst Castle at 11.40 a.m. There the sea became rougher, the wind and tide coming in together and raising a broken swell. Off the Needles the meeting of the cross-seas provided quite a rough twenty minutes, during which the boat was thrown about vigorously and took some heavy splashes of spray aboard. No rolling, and speed only temporarily reduced, as from Swanage onwards advantage was taken of the shelter of the Portland promontory to open her up to 2500, her best cruising speed, and run over the swell. From St. Aldhelm's Head onwards she was a perfectly dry boat, and this opportunity was taken to refuel her main tank from cans of petrol carried on deck, and from a temporary tank taken on board for the special run.

Portland Bill was reached at about two o'clock, and passed close inshore. The long seas at Lyme Bay gave further opportunity of keeping up her cruising speed economically, as the boat ran lightly over them, steadily and dryly. The tide was now ebbing in her favour. Course was set slightly to the N. of Start Point, and the Devon Coast sighted at 4 o'clock, a long and heavy rain storm making visibility very limited. Off Start Point more heavy and broken seas were met, and speed was again reduced for a time, past Prawle to Bolt Head off Salcombe. The wind then dropped off to half its former strength and the boat was opened up to 2300 revolutions and held cleanly on her course to Plymouth at twenty past six p.m. No water remained in her bilges upon arrival, thanks to the self-bailers arranged in each of the boat's compartments. No solid water was shipped during the run, and the main cabin remained perfectly dry and comfortably throughout.

The engines ran faultlessly. A little oil was added to them on the way, to maintain their pressures constant at 40 lbs.; except for this they were not touched or thought of. The water outlet temperature gauges stood constantly at 45° Cent. The oil put in amounted to 1 gallon, as noted. Before the run to Plymouth was started, the boat did two and a half hours of test and trial running in Southampton Water. The trip round took seven and a half hours; so that her total running on the day came to 10 hours. During this she used 90 gallons of petrol, and 30 gallons remained in tanks upon arrival at Plymouth.

The whole run was made at cruising speed, no attempts to save time or take the shortest course being made. The boat was slowed down whenever the sea conditions made it comfortable to do so.

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Source: DG 806-8
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 17 January 2006


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