Future secured for historic motorboats

Motor Gun Boat 81 and High Speed Launch 102 delivered to Naval Base Property Trust in Portsmouth

Two historic military motorboats have arrived at Portsmouth Dockyard for preservation. Motor Gun Boat MGB 81 and High Speed Launch HSL 102 have been handed over to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust’s growing collection and will be maintained in seagoing condition.

The boats, which date from 1942 and 1936 respectively, were rebuilt and restored by Phil Clabburn and are listed on the National Register of Historic Ships. For safety reasons their original petrol engines have been replaced by diesels, but both boats remain capable of doing around 30 knots.

They were built by the British Power Boat Company at Hythe, but while the Royal Navy’s MGB 81 was used during World War II to attack Axis coastal convoys, HSL 102 was employed by the Royal Air Force as a fast air/sea rescue launch.

Photo: Remi Jouan