A vintage launch caused a kerfuffle in the Solent

A 75-year-old motor boat

built to rescue downed airman was itself rescued yesterday after breaking down

in the Solent. Smoke was reported to be billowing from the engine room of High

Speed Launch (HSL) 102 off Ryde, sparking fears that she had caught fire.


Bembridge RNLI and Ryde

Inshore Rescue lifeboats were launched to assist, and evacuated HSL 102s ten

passengers and crew. It was found that the smoke came from a split pipe caused

by one of ‘102s engines overheating, and the boat was towed back to Portsmouth.


“On this occasion there really was

smoke without fire”, said Peter Goodship, chief executive of ‘102s owner, the

Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT), “the engine was shut down, the

passengers came back to shore, and everyone lived happily ever after.

Thankfully no real harm was done”.

HSL 102, which was built by the British

Power Boat Company at Hythe in 1936 and had a top speed of more than 40 knots,

rescued 38 aircrew from the North Sea in just two months during 1941.


Click here for our exclusive gallery of the rescue.

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