42ft Watson-class lifeboat

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Watson Class Dorothy and Philip Constant at Portishead (starboard side, forward).JPG
Dorothy and Phillip Constant
Class overview
Name: 42ft Watson-class
Builders:
  • William Osborne, Littlehampton
  • Groves & Guttridge, Cowes
  • J. Samuel White, Cowes
Operators: Flag of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.svg Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Preceded by: 41ft Watson
Succeeded by: various
Cost: £26,000-£36,000
Built: 1954-1962
In service: 1954-1987
Completed: 10
Retired: 10
General characteristics
Class and type: 42ft Watson
Displacement: 17 tons
Length: 42 ft (13 m)
Beam: 12 ft (3.7 m)
Draught: 3 ft 7 in (1.09 m)
Propulsion: 2 × 48bhp Gardner 4LW 4-cyl. diesel
Speed: 8 knots
Range: 235 nm
Crew: 7

The 42ft Watson-class was a class of non self-righting displacement hull lifeboat built between 1954 and 1962 and operated by the RNLI around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland between 1954 and 1987.

History[edit]

The 42ft Watson was the final example of the medium-sized Watson type lifeboat built primarily for slipway launching at those stations where physical boathouse constraints and/or slipway strength precluded the use of the longer and heavier types. They were historically significant in being the first RNLI boats to be fitted with commercially available engines rather than the RNLI designed types previously used. The prototype, William Taylor of Oldham (ON 907) went on station at Coverack in Cornwall in July 1954 and served there until May 1972 as the final all-weather lifeboat at the station. In 1957 a version was developed suitable for beach launching. This had a widened (beam 12ft 3in) and strengthened hull to take the rigours of launching over skids.

Description[edit]

The wooden hulled 42ft Watson featured a long tapering aluminium superstructure running forward from the aft cockpit. The forward part of this, ahead of the engine room, was a survivor cabin. A major departure from previous RNLI practice was the use of commercially available engines, in the form of two Gardner 4LW 4-cylinder marine diesels producing 48bhp each. The exhaust from the engines was taken up the forward mast, as with the later 46ft 9in Watson-class boats. With the exception of the last boat, ON 967, which came four years after the previous example, all of the boats originally had open cockpits. In 1965, the first boat, ON 907, was given an enclosed wheelhouse and ON 937 followed in 1967. The others, with the exception of the Aldeburgh boat, had the wheelhouse enclosed in 1971. Aldeburgh's ON 946 was the only boat fitted with a mizzen mast, at the request of the crew, for a steadying sail in rough weather and was the only boat to retain an open cockpit to the end. The last boat built had an enclosed wheelhouse from the start. During the course of their service, the boats were fitted with radar and the original aerial rigging was replaced by a long pole aerial.

Fleet[edit]

ON is the RNLI's sequential Official Number.

ON Name Built Builder In Service Stations Comments
907 William Taylor of Oldham 1954 William Osborne, Littlehampton 1954–1972
1972–1973
1973–1986
Coverack
Relief fleet
Arklow
Sold August 1986
909 James and Barbara Aitken 1955 William Osborne, Littlehampton 1955–1968
1968–1976
Troon
Girvan
Damaged on service 15/10/1976 and withdrawn. Sold 1977
922 Watkin Williams 1956 William Osborne, Littlehampton 1956–1977
1978–1981
1981–1983
Moelfre
Oban
Relief fleet
Sold May 1983
933 J.W. Archer 1956 William Osborne, Littlehampton 1956–1987 Wicklow Last 42ft Watson on station. Sold March 1989
934 The Duke of Montrose 1956 Groves & Guttridge, Cowes 1956–1982
1982–1984
Arbroath
Relief fleet
Sold 1984 to ADES Uruguay
937 Mabel E. Holland 1957 William Osborne, Littlehampton 1957–1978
1979–1983
Dungeness
Relief fleet
Beach version. Sold 1983
941 William and Mary Durham 1957 William Osborne, Littlehampton 1957–1976
1977–1983
Berwick
Girvan
Sold October 1983
946 Alfred and Patience Gottwald 1958 J. Samuel White, Cowes 1959–1979
1979–1980
Aldeburgh
Relief fleet
Beach version. Sold 1980
948 Charles Dibdin (Civil Service No.32) 1958 William Osborne, Littlehampton 1959–1975
1975–1977
1977–1979
1979–1982
1982–1988
Walmer
Relief fleet
Eastbourne
Aldeburgh
Relief fleet
Beach version. Sold 1988
967 Dorothy and Philip Constant 1962 Groves & Guttridge, Cowes 1963–1981
1981–1982
1982–1987
Shoreham Harbour
Oban
Relief fleet
Sold April 1988

External links[edit]