Thames 50' Class Lifeboat

nhp651
10th December 2007, 09:32
Could anyone enlighten me as to how many of these boats were built, and where they were stationed and finally ended up. What sort of sea keeping capabilities had they and what did the crewmen/women think of them.

I know one was stationed at Port Askaig Islay,and called ( I think ) Helmut Schroeder of ??? ( Kinlossett?) but know nothing else at all.

Are there any plans available for building this class of boat. just a thought. many thanks for any information.neil.

sandman
10th December 2007, 16:49
The other boat was stationed at Dover,there were only 2 built,one of them ended up as apilot boat at Fowey,perhaps galley boy could shed some light on the history.

Iain Crosbie
10th December 2007, 17:51
I understand the Islay crew were very fond of their boat, especially as it was steel and therefore seen as stronger than wood or even plastic.
The Islay boat capsized and self-righted on the same night as the Barra Barnett (18-11-79). Four other boats were ordered, but then cancelled before production had begun- another great bit of design by the RNLI!

nhp651
10th December 2007, 18:33
cheers for the info, lads. wonder where they are now?neil.

Galley Boy
10th December 2007, 18:57
Neil,two 50' Thames class built 1973/74 by Brooke Marine,Lowestoft,50-001 "Rotary Service" stationed at Falmouth 74-78,Dover79-97,was pilot boat at Fowey,now at Castletownbere.50-002 "Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit"trials76-79,Islay79-97,now lifeboat in New Zealand.Four further boats were ordered but cancelled as the Arun class being developed at the time was thought to be more suitable.

nhp651
10th December 2007, 21:22
thanks galleyboy for your and all the lads help. I suppose NZ is a little too far to go to get photos, if I ever get round to building, but where is Casletownbere, please?excuse the ignorance.neil.

Galley Boy
11th December 2007, 19:58
thanks galleyboy for your and all the lads help. I suppose NZ is a little too far to go to get photos, if I ever get round to building, but where is Casletownbere, please?excuse the ignorance.neil.

Neil,if you go to www.dover-lifeboat.org.uk then click on gallery,scroll down to archives you'll find a few photos of 50-001. Castletownbere is i think in the south west of Ireland between Baltimore and Valentia.

nhp651
12th December 2007, 00:19
thanks Galley boy for your help. I'll have a look at that in the morning. cheers,neil.

Pete Legg
14th December 2007, 00:35
I was in the Dover Lifeboat crew for 17 years, and for the majority of that time we had the Thames 50-001 (Rotary Service), she was a very good sea boat, and in many ways was a better sea boat than the Arun's which we had as relief boats. I once did a job in a SW Force 10 when we rescued the 3 crew of the Lay Barge BRABANT off Sandgate one September, it was a bit hairy, and we were twice layed on our side, but did not capsize. We have often wondered how an ARUN might have stood up to the conditions. We had twin 480Hp General Motor Diesels, a bit noisy, but they sounded good. and gave us a good speed of around 18 knots. Another SN Contributor - Chris Ryan, was onboard her during the night of the 1987 Hurricane. He might wish to tell you more. But all in all I think we all considered her to be a very good lifeboat.

Regards. Pete

nhp651
14th December 2007, 17:17
thanks Pete.

If often thought of building a model of the Thames but there are no plans available at present from the RNLI, so they say and few photo's of the two that were built in close up, so at the moment am scuppers.

Do you know of any plans that the boat house in Dover might have held over, pete?

many thanks for your help, though and cheers to you all for your help. neil.

Pete Legg
15th December 2007, 05:55
Hi Neil. Sorry, no plans of the Thames down the Boat house as far as I know.
Why not try the Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. They have a very active Modelling section, and may be able to help you out.

Regards,

Pete.

nhp651
15th December 2007, 10:55
thanks for that Pete. I'll try them.I'll keep you posted as to what I find out. many thanks, neil.

MikeStringer
17th January 2008, 17:03
I crewed the thames class based at Port Askaig for 9 years up to the time it was replaced by the new Severn class - unfortunately I had to leave Islay about that time and only went out on the Severn a couple of times.
The Thames was indeed well thought of by all the crew and was a very good sea boat - it regularly took a good hammering off the west coast and always felt that it would get us home.
You may be interested that the boat went to Littleton in New Zealand and by coincidence the last Coxn to operate it on Islay also returned to New Zealand about the same time. He currently works as a Pilot in Timaru and was sent the Thames as a relief Pilot boat when his was in for repair - what are the chances of that??.
I visited NZ and took some pics. at littleton but was unable to get close to the old boat due to the security fencing but from what i could see it didn't look much different except the Y boat was missing off the back.
Hope that is of interest,
Mike

nhp651
17th January 2008, 19:18
many thanks for thar Mike.
I intend at some stage to model one of them as I saw the Islay boat once when I visited the beautiful island in 1987.
Saw her gunning down the sound of Jura, but didn't get close enough to her to photograph.
such is life.
cheers,neil.

sandman
17th January 2008, 21:16
thanks Pete.

If often thought of building a model of the Thames but there are no plans available at present from the RNLI, so they say and few photo's of the two that were built in close up, so at the moment am scuppers.

Do you know of any plans that the boat house in Dover might have held over, pete?

many thanks for your help, though and cheers to you all for your help. neil.

Try the Lifeboat Museum at chatham for boat plans,I Believe they had most of the RNLI's old boat plans

nhp651
17th January 2008, 23:47
thanks sandman. that's one place I had not thought about.cheers,neil.

Tom Johnston
15th February 2008, 23:10
thanks sandman. that's one place I had not thought about.cheers,neil.

As the last coxswain of the Islay Thames class I can asure you all that she was a great boat and still is. She is currently for sale so if anbody is interested?. At the moment she belongs to the Sumner Lifeboat Institute and is based in Lytelton. Where she also works as a relief pilot launch and drydock tug.

nhp651
16th February 2008, 10:06
if only I could afford to buy and run/maintain one?thanks for the info Tom.

Mike Vanko
16th February 2008, 13:51
Could anyone enlighten me as to how many of these boats were built, and where they were stationed and finally ended up. What sort of sea keeping capabilities had they and what did the crewmen/women think of them.

I know one was stationed at Port Askaig Islay,and called ( I think ) Helmut Schroeder of ??? ( Kinlossett?) but know nothing else at all.

Are there any plans available for building this class of boat. just a thought. many thanks for any information.neil.
I think the plans were bought from the RNLI by a boatbuilding company who then built a fishery protection boat(along the same lines) for Ireland. The boat is usually stationed in Bangor, Northern Ireland.
I'll try and find out a bit more information if the plans are still available if you let me know.
Regards Mike

nhp651
16th February 2008, 13:54
thanks, Mike. I appreciate that.neil.

Mike Vanko
22nd February 2008, 15:33
thanks, Mike. I appreciate that.neil.
Hi Neil.
I have spoken to the boatyard concerned and they said that they bought the rights from the RNLI to a 'one off build' of the Thames class only.
They do not now have the plans but suggest that you go back to the RNLI to buy plans for your project.
Hope this helps
Regards Mike

nhp651
22nd February 2008, 19:53
thanks Mike.I tried them once a few years ago and they couldn't locate any. mind you their archives are now better run so will give them another go.thanks again, neil.

Furball
8th April 2008, 12:16
Try the Lifeboat Museum at chatham for boat plans,I Believe they had most of the RNLI's old boat plans

I work there, and we have some plans, but not many I'm afraid - all the old ones went to the National Maritime Museum, I think everything before ON 800, and the RNLI kept the rest.

Having said that, I've got an idea there are some Thames plans there (can't remember what exactly). I'll have a shufti when I'm up there next weekend and see if I can get them copied for you if you like.

Cheers

Lance

Lutz
14th May 2008, 20:07
Hi. :) Iain has directed me to this thread, because I didn't get an answer on my questions in the LB24/7 forum. ;) So this is what I wanted to ask:

On the Fowey Pilots website, I came across the following statement:

"The Thames Class [...] won a deserved high reputation for their excellent sea keeping qualities."

I know that the Dover crew very much liked her 50-001. Does anyone here still know the Thames class first hand? I would be interested in knowing how the Thames class lifeboats compared to the Waveney, Arun, Tyne, Trent and Severn classes. I would also like to know, why the RNLI stopped the Thames class production and concentrated on the Arun class. And why did they start to develop both classes nearly at the same time?

Iain Crosbie
14th May 2008, 22:07
Lutz,
I hope you get some answers here. Why don't you try to send a personal message to Tom Johnston as I'm sure he will be able to tell you lots about these boats.
From Nicholas Leach's "RNLI Motor Lifeboats" (ISBN 1-84306-201-1) the following extracts may help you:
The 50ft Thames was one of two designs for a fast lifeboat produced in the early 1970s (The Arun was the other) when the RNLIs Committee of Management realised that, after the successful introduction of the Waveney, a slightly larger and faster boat was needed. RNLI staff undertook the initial design.... During trials the original bow on both boats proved unsuitable so a new temporary GRP bow was built for ON1032 and tested..... new steel bows were built for both boats which then entered service. Four further boats were ordered during 1974, .... However these were cancelled.... as the Arun class being developed at the same time was deemed more suitable.
Iain

Lutz
15th May 2008, 06:31
Lutz,
I hope you get some answers here. Why don't you try to send a personal message to Tom Johnston as I'm sure he will be able to tell you lots about these boats.
From Nicholas Leach's "RNLI Motor Lifeboats" (ISBN 1-84306-201-1) the following extracts may help you:
Iain

Hi Iain,
I can try to point Tom to this thread by PM, yes. :) As regards the book from Nicholas Leach, I also own it, but the paragraph you refer to is too superficial. It just states the decision, but I am interested in the why. I would be interested in knowing some background information on the sea-keeping capabilities of the Thames class and the comparison of this class with other RNLI lifeboat classes.
A long time ago, I have also thought of building a Thames class lifeboat model, but I am afraid, it would take me ages now because my work and family obligations... ;)

nhp651
16th May 2008, 08:40
I have now received plans for this boat from a very helpfull member and as soon as I have cleared the backlog of models will set about them in ernest!(Scribe)

ribfreak
24th January 2010, 22:43
Hello nhp651-

would you be willing to share those plans with others?

Regards,
Wolfgang

Snowlings19
9th February 2010, 11:03
I would love a model of the Thames, Having grown up in Lowestoft being proud of the Waveney and the Thames class boats being built her and the Oakleys being refitted.

nhp651
10th February 2010, 22:11
hi wolfgang....sorry, only just seen your post asking for copies......yes, of course i would . send me your address by pm and i'll copy them for you and post them....it might take me a day or two to find them though.
neil.
snowlings.if you have the money, i'm sure someone would make one for you.

Snowlings19
5th April 2010, 10:25
Coor trying to get money out of me is like blood out of a stone...

hence my other name spongie ;)

nhp651
5th April 2010, 18:42
say no more spongie......just been reading your post on fcb2's on lb24-7
,lol

Snowlings19
5th April 2010, 23:09
say no more spongie......just been reading your post on fcb2's on lb24-7
,lol

Conveiniently enough I actually have started modelling the Thames in my form of modeling... 2D computer graphics.


Just sold a rather nice large printed one of Samuel J to Mr Samuel J

Snowlings19
11th August 2013, 17:12
bringing an old thread from the dead.

Obviously its often been disussed that the RNLI first saw the thames in the form of the Gore Point which was a vessel in use by Trinity House. built by brooke marine.

effectively making her "thames class number 1" unofficially.

its often been mentioned in Lowestoft that a 3rd hull was built and then sold on for completion once the RNLI cancelled the contract for the further 4 thames boats.

in my research I have discovered at least a 4th vessel on the hull form built in 1992 as the Ken Vickers, a fisheries protection launch in Bangor, built by Eyemouth Boat Co and designed by IMT Arbroath, using the hull design of the Thames Class Lifeboat.

whether this in turn now leaves the possibility there is infact a 5th thames out there? is another thing entirely!!!

malky4
23rd November 2013, 19:46
was in Swansea today and saw what looked like a Thames class boat moored at the Giants Grave wharf at Briton Ferry - has anyone else seen this vessel to confirm what it is
Mal.

Snowlings19
27th November 2013, 21:21
Wot no pics? But it's the former fleet pilot boat Gore point

http://riverneathcoasters.blogspot.co.uk/p/river-neath-pilot-boats.html?m=1

malky4
30th November 2013, 19:17
cheers for the info I thought it looked like a Thames - the reason for no pic is that I was on the M4 at the time and just caught a quick glimpse as I went by
Mal.

Snowlings19
14th May 2014, 08:42
Not much longer left but there is an online appeal to try and raise the money for purchasing ex 50-001 and return it to Lowestoft for preservation.

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ex50-001

www.facebook.com/exRNLI50001

If the crowdfunder campaign doesnt work in the next day which is remaining then we will not give up, just try different methods to save it!