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Author Topic: Seaplane Tender ST 206  (Read 3429 times)

Colin Bishop

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Seaplane Tender ST 206
« on: May 04, 2010, 06:57:10 PM »

The RAF Museum recently asked Model Boats if they would be interested in covering the last voyage of SP 206, a restored seaplane tender that has been purchased by the Museum and is making her way from Lymington to Shepperton over the Bank Holiday. There is some more info here: http://www.asrmcs-club.com/welcome.htm It is quite a historic vessel.
 
The magazine recently featured building a model of this launch so we were obviously interested. I turned up early at Newhaven Saturday morning to find the lifeboat, which was due to provide an escort, sitting on the marina pontoon instead of at her usual berth due to the very low spring tide. So I waited on the pontoon for the crew to appear and the Coxswain very kindly agreed to take me aboard if there was room among the RAF veterans he was also taking out to greet SP 206 - they can only take 12 passengers. Fortunately there was! I had my Lifeboat Special issue of the magazine to help establish my credentials.
 
We embarked a number of retired Air Force crew and their Chaplain (in his robes) from the lifeboat station and put to sea a bit later than planned as the ST 206 had put in to Brighton to refuel. Once clear of the harbour the Cox'n put his foot down and clinging on for dear life on the back of  a Severn Lifeboat (the RNLI's biggest) at 25 knots is an experience I won't forget in a hurry - absolutely fantastic and silly grins everywhere!
 
We met up with the ST 206 a mile or so offshore and spent the best part of 45 minutes manoeuvring around each other with the launch making high speed runs towards us for photography. I got some excellent photos although some are at funny angles as the lifeboat was bouncing around like nobody's business!
 
After waiting for the car ferry to come out we escorted ST 106 back into harbour and passengers were disembarked from the lifeboat which went alongside the fuel pontoon, ST 106 then tied up alongside her. There then followed a short ceremony attended by the local Air Training Corps and others including the Mayoress, the Chaplain gave us a prayer which he said was needed after his experience aboard the lifeboat!
 
There was then an opportunity for the more agile (including myself!) to scramble aboard ST 206 where I took some more photos. I took over 250 pics altogether.
 
I also had a chat with the chap who restored her and he was very interested in the Model Boats article.
 
Must say that thumbing a lift from a lifeboat was a new experience for me. I have included  a couple of pics below but have uploaded a bigger selection to the Model Boats site if anyone is interested.  http://www.modelboats.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=39716#786689

There will be a full article in the magazine later in the year.

Colin
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dbninja

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2010, 08:21:04 PM »

Colin
thanks for taking the time to post that (and the links)  some fantastic action photo's of the loverly ST

as "days out"  go....     i dont think you will forget that one in a hurry :-))




just a shame such a superb bit of history is going to be "parked up" for the rest of her days

would apreciate a link to some video footage if you get any  (just being greedy eh!)

thanks again
David
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2010, 08:43:01 PM »

David,

One of the embarked veterans was taking video but I don't know where that will end up. The original intention was to run 'speed trials' with a camera boat off Sheerness on 2nd May but the itinerary was changed due to bad weather so I don't know if these took place or not. If I get any further info I will post it.

I have to agree that it is a shame that a boat with so much life still in her is going to become a static exhibit.

And yes, it was a great day out!

Colin
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furball

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 07:33:10 PM »

My dad used to be the wireless operator on one of those during the war, on air sea rescue duties.

There's still the hull of one he built sitting on his shed - must fish it out some day.


Lance
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kiwi

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2010, 08:30:36 PM »

Hi,
 My Dad was mechanic / helmsman on two of these during the war. NZ built (lengthened to 40feet) and stationed at Hobsonville in Auckland. Mainly used to take personell across to Auckland CBD for R & R. Presently drawing up with a view to building an r/c model from photos and a small plan from the NZ Airforce Museum
cheers
kiwi
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vintagent

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2010, 06:24:57 PM »

Great pictures, Colin, thanks, but what a sad day. A perfectly sound looking boat ends up in that ghastly museum, dead.  You may as well crush the world's last butterfly.
I'd rather it sank.
Regards,
Vintagent
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cdsc123

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2010, 06:32:18 PM »

Thank goodness it's not up to you then!
She is to be kept in commission and operational in order to attend high profile regattas and exhibitions in the future .
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 07:15:26 PM »

Quote
She is to be kept in commission and operational in order to attend high profile regattas and exhibitions in the future .

Nice thought but I just wonder how practical it will be. Taking a wooden boat out of the water causes her to dry out and seams to open. Engines need to be run up on load on a regular basis and it's not easy to arrange cooling when the boat is ashore. Few things deteriorate more quickly than a boat taken out of commission.

Colin
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cdsc123

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2010, 07:22:46 PM »

I quite agree, and only time will tell. Fingers crossed!
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vintagent

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Re: Seaplane Tender ST 206
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2010, 08:13:46 PM »

OH!!  I take it all back then. Excellent.  But how will she be kept wet in Hendon?
Boats need the water, even double diagonals.  Moving her by road will stress her in a way that will take its toll pretty quickly...
or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

regards,
Vintagent
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