Author Topic: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?  (Read 1592 times)

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Offline Axel

QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« on: Apr 21, 2019, 01:32 PM »
Hello,
I have read here a lot about QE2's lifeboats and tenders and when looking through various pictures through the decades her boats have been retrofit/replaced. Lately she carried also two of these "futuristic" tenders which are seen on nowadays cruiseships.

Does anybody of you know the maker of the lifeboats and tenders, especially of the tenders No. 7 to No. 12?
I guess the common lifeboats including the smaller boats No. 1 and No. 2 (formerly equipped with a radio station) are still original?

She came from Glasgow on delivery with other tenders if I am correct? One has posted a picture of one of these boats being used as a pleasure craft now. But I mean the later tenders not as seen in this footage, posted here in the forum:

Making the lifeboats



Best regards,

Axel

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 21, 2019, 01:42 PM »
Axel

When built:

2 x ‘class A’ red emergency boats

27ft x 9ft x 4ft 3¾ in.

Powered by twin Lister 36 bhp air-cooled diesel engines, with electric and raised hand start, each driving a Dowty type J2 Cascade water-to-water jet. A development over the previous boats was the inclusion of a cabin incorporating a wireless room, forward and a shrouded pulpit for the helmsmen. Each boat had a capacity as a lifeboat of 43 persons.

8 x ‘class B’ lifeboats (open)

36ft 6 in x 12ft 0 in x 5ft 3 in

A standard Watercraft hull was basic for the launch / lifeboats and lifeboats. Equipped with SRMG/R” engines each of 19.5 bhp. Capacity 150 each.

6 x cruise launches *

40ft 0in x 12ft 0in x 5ft 6in

The six cruising launches had launch / lifeboat capacities of 60 / 80 persons each. The launches were powered by a single 6-cylinder V-form Parsons Cummins Vulture diesel engine, developing 145 bhp at 2,800 rpm each, with HGR hydraulically operated 2:1 reverse-reduction gear, closed circuit fresh water cooling, and Bosch Duplex Hyd-Rota hydraulic starting. Designed for excursion cruising, the launches had fore and aft cabins carpeted, Formica-lined with soft-finished overheads, and fitted with aircraft-type seating. Further seating was provided midships and in the aft cockpits; the helmsmen’s position is centrally placed.

All these boats had gone by 1994 (four in 1975 and two in 1994).

4 x ‘class B’ motor launches

36ft 6 in x 12ft 0 in x 5ft 3 in

A standard Watercraft hull was basic for the launch / lifeboats and lifeboats. These launches had cabins fore and aft and portable awning between and were powered by single Lister 36 bhp HB3MG/R air-cooled diesel engine with hydraulically operated 2:1 reverse-reduction gearbox; electric and Bryce Berger hydraulic starting was fitted, The SRMG/R” engines were each of 19.5 bhp and the same as fitted in the lifeboats. Capacity 140 each.



Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 21, 2019, 01:44 PM »
1975

•   Four new cruise launches and davits were installed replacing four of the six 80-seater cruise launches. One of the boats removed eventually ended up offering trips on Lough Derg in Ireland and was renamed KU-EE-TU and was still in service in 2009.

1983

•   Alpha and Beta tenders were added aft.

1994

•   Boats 7 and 8 were removed (these were final two of the set of six whose four ‘sisters’ had been removed in 1975) and replaced with Harding Tenders.

•   Alpha and Beta were removed and sold to a new owner in Croatia.

As of November 2008 when she retired QE2’s boats had been on board since 1969 (or 1975 as in the case of the four cruise launches) apart from the Harding Tenders.

Alpha and Beta (1983 – 1994)

With over 30 launch ports within a twelve month period QE2’s launch service was one of the major areas of passenger complaint with the delay in getting ashore some 1,750 people being the primary cause of complaint. While gangways and pontoons had been redesigned the launch capacity was still similar to that of the original design. This problem was furthered by the unceasing quest for cruise ports to add to QE2’s cruise itineraries meant that most of the additions were those where draft restrictions had to be accommodated for and therefore required good passenger transfer capacity.

QE2’s General Manager, Captain Doug Ridley, was given the task to find a solution to this problem and after a great deal of research and consideration of alternatives the following proposal was made:

   2 x 120 passenger tenders         £240,000
   
   2 x full sets davits            £75,000

   Installation / stiffening etc         £80,000

               TOTAL   £395,000

Two powerful new 45-foot motor launches, built at a final all-in cost of £420,000, were fitted aft and alongside the new Magrodome area to assist in the transfer of passengers from ship-to-shore when required. Completed by Watercraft of Sussex, they were named Alpha and Beta and were equipped to carry 122 people each. Their 212-hp engines gave a speed of 10-knoys and each tender had a cruising range of 174 nautical miles.

The hull and deck area was specially strengthened with davit systems of a hydraulic pivot type (allowing for a 25 ft / min recovery speed) being installed. The aft deck location for the two new cruise launches were strengthened and cable installation work was carried out in preparation for the installation of the davits and launches while QE2 was in Hong Kong (13 – 16 March 1983).

The new davits were installed while QE2 was still in service and before she entered dry-dock. The starboard davit (for ‘Alpha’) was fitted in Southampton on 26 September 1983 with the port one (for ‘Beta’) being fitted on 8 October.

Cunard felt that the large expenditure on the two new launches was warranted given that launch boat service for QE2 was non-competitive during most of the year when the ship was on cruise service. The addition of the two boats would increase the ship’s boat capacity by 63%, reduce typical launch boat cycle times by about 30% and require no additional manning. The time saving to discharge a full ship was estimated to be some 45 minutes, with a back up service in the event of breakdowns.

Alpha and Beta did not prove very practical and were known for not being very good sea boats; they became known by officers as ‘Ridley’s Folly’.

Both these craft and their associated davits were removed in 1994 and were sold to a new owner in Croatia; their roles being taken up by the new Harding Tenders.

Harding Tenders (1994)

The removal of Alpha and Beta, and the need to renew two of the existing tenders, necessitated in the installation of two new 112-seat Harding catamaran-type launches which were installed on new davits on the Boat deck, midships, numbers 13 and 14. These craft were innovative in design and particularly suitable for the easy boarding of passengers. A speed in excess of 12 knots made transfer between ship and shore very quick. As partially enclosed lifeboats, each tender could accommodate 150 passengers. Propulsion was by twin 290 bhp diesel engines driving 600-mm diameter alloy bronze propellers.


Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #3 on: Apr 21, 2019, 01:47 PM »
1969      

2 x ‘class A’ emergency boats      
8 x ‘class B’ lifeboats (open)      
6 x cruise launches       
4 x ‘class B’ motor launches    

2008

2 x ‘class A’ emergency boats
8 x ‘class B’ lifeboats (open)
4 x cruise launches
4 x ‘class B’ motor launches
2 x Harding Catamaran Tenders

      


Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #4 on: Apr 21, 2019, 03:28 PM »
Thanks Michael for a fabulous response to Axel's question.

The topic with the British Pathe film of the making of the original lifeboats may also  be of interest to readers. 

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php?topic=1829.0
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #5 on: Apr 21, 2019, 04:55 PM »
Excellent information Michael, confirming things I'd wondered too and mentioning the technical details of the Schat-Harding (or Harding as they are currently known) catamaran tenders I have particular memories of being on at anchor ports.

I noticed, a while ago, that the order of QE2's lifeboats and tenders was changed around on at least a couple of occasions over the years. Does this tie in with the changes you've listed, Michael, or were there other occasions that required the rearrangement of the lifeboat's and tender's respective orders on each side of Boat Deck? The reason I find this intriguing is that it's my understanding each davit was unique in shape, placement, and it's load capacity which must've had (I presume) a bearing on which lifeboats and tenders could go where? This is separate from the replacement of davits and mainly concerns the 8 "class B" open lifeboats she carried throughout.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #6 on: Apr 21, 2019, 05:06 PM »
Funny you should ask Thomas as I have compiled the below and hope it makes sense...

LAYOUTS
   
            R   Red Emergency
            L   Lifeboat (traditional open)
            C¹    Cruise Launches (original)
            C²    Cruise Launches (1975 replacements)
            M    Motor Launches
            A    Alpha and Beta
            H    Harding Tender

1969 – 1975

   R  L  L  C¹  C¹  C¹  M  M  L  L

      Capacities      R   43
               L   150
               C¹   80
               M   140
               
1975 – 1983

   R  L  L  C¹  C²  C²  M  M  L  L

      (The C² boats had replaced four of the six cruise launches).

1983 – 1994

   R  L  L  C¹  C²  C²  M  M  L  L  A

1994 –

   R  L  L  L  C²  C²  H  M  M  L



Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #7 on: Apr 21, 2019, 05:07 PM »
1975

Four new cruise launches replaced existing boats and new davits were installed.

1981

7 and 8 boats re-wired and re-engined.

1986 / 1987 (RE-ENGINING)

A general overhaul was undertaken on all of the lifeboats with lifeboat davits and lifeboat winches being renewed.

2004

Maintenance work on lifeboats and davits was undertaken. 50% of the lifeboats and liferaft davits were surveyed and repaired including the replacement of No 1 and 2 liferaft davits (this was carried out as a Capital Project).

2005

Engines in the majority of lifeboats were replaced during the year. (Lifeboats 7 and 20 had theirs replaced in Amsterdam during QE2’s overnight call there on 23 / 24 August).

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #8 on: Apr 21, 2019, 05:07 PM »
COLOURED TOPS

White

   1969 – approx. 1977

Red   

   Approx. 1977 – 1988

Images of QE2 in Hong Kong show her lifeboats with white tops while images of the ship in New York in 1978 show the tops of the boats to be red. The change was probably made during her 1977 refit at Bayonne.

White

   1988 –


Offline Axel

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #9 on: Apr 21, 2019, 05:20 PM »
Michael,

that is absolutely stunning what information about her lifeboat history you give us. I just compared pictures from a nice book by William H. Miller and Luis Miguel Correia and it is indeed more complicated with her boats than I thought before.

The coded configuration you wrote in your latest post is also an interesting key and summary!

Many thanks!


Best regards,

Axel


Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #10 on: Apr 21, 2019, 05:25 PM »
All makes sense Michael, thank you for the detailed information :) . Interesting to note the widespread engine replacements in 2005, maybe indicative of plans for the ship being around longer in service than she was or conversely much needed replacements that might've happened regardless of the sale? I presume the catamaran tenders didn't need engine replacements and I presume the engine replacements were like for like from spares?
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Offline Rod

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #11 on: Apr 21, 2019, 07:55 PM »
Complete new engines were not carried as spares. Spare parts were carried but not enough to make a complete engine.
During re-engining, all the boats were towed up to Fassmers boat yard to be thoroughly overhauled. Many spare parts had to be ordered from UK
Amazingly local "Green" laws did not allow working  on the boats to be done in Bremmerhaven.
Most of the work was done by myself and the ships boat Mechanic. Painting and any structural repairs were done by Fassmers.
When 7 & 8 were re-engined it was done in New Jersey by Penske with Detroit Diesel engines.
Very seldom used as speed was not there. By the noise the engine made the boat should have been doing around 2 knots, when in reality they might achieve 5,, and that was going downhill!
Alpha and Beta were built as Class A life boats and as such, before handing over the makers borrowed a bell from the local ships chandler so they could pass DoT inspection. Inspection over, bells went back!
Alpha and Beta were driven down from the builders yard with Cunard reps Tug Wilson and Rod Fair aboard, Beta was delivered to QE2 from her storage site to the QE2 on a cold windy, rainy evening by Rod Fair on his own!

Offline Axel

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #12 on: Apr 21, 2019, 09:07 PM »
Thanks Rod for your input! Interesting to read these stories.

A & B were attached prior the long stay at Bremerhaven. Do you remember who made them? Was it the same maker who fabricated the old boats in UK?
Can you recall the maker of the other cruise launches from 1975 , should be No. 9/10 and No. 11/12?

Nice to see that inspections were "survived" by same tricks as nowadays we do as well :-)


Best regards,

Axel

Offline Rod

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #13 on: Apr 21, 2019, 10:29 PM »
Alpha and Bravo were made by Watercraft of Sussex?  and 9,10,11 & 12 were made by Hardings of Norway I believe.
They had twin Volva Penta engines.
Alpha and Bravo had twin Ford Sabre Marine diesels.
One of the early problems with A & B was that the engines were not allowed to warm up gradually before being put into service........ drop em in the water start em up and get em loaded.
At least 2 of the three engines (it was close on 40 years ago) had to have extensive work done on cylinder heads because of this.

Offline Axel

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #14 on: Apr 21, 2019, 10:53 PM »
Thanks a lot, that is an additional information that is valuable. Harding and Watercraft seem to become Palfinger.

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #15 on: Apr 22, 2019, 12:33 AM »
Harding and Watercraft seem to become Palfinger.

Harding are now known as Schat-Harding as far as I can tell from looking online. QM2's Tenders are also logoed with Schat-Harding but I don't know when the merger happened. It seems to have been after QE2's tenders were supplied around 9 years (late 1994) before QM2's (during 2003) as QE2's equivalent tenders don't appear to have the company's logo from checking my photos.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Offline Rod

Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #16 on: Apr 24, 2019, 10:03 PM »
Saw this the other day on you tube. Look familiar?


Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #17 on: Apr 27, 2019, 07:22 PM »
Anyone who doesn't understand this forum, only needs to look at this topic.

Somebody asks a question, and is provided with Cunard's actual records from their form PR guy, and then the actual officer who did the relevant jobs answers with first hand experience - including the actual delivery voyage of the Alpha and Beta tenders.

We are site for a niche subject for sure, but don't we do it well.  Well done guys, and thank you.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Thomas Hypher

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Re: QE2's lifeboats and tenders - maker?
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2019, 04:15 PM »
Saw this the other day on you tube. Look familiar?


Very familiar, albeit in choppier conditions, and not surprising given Albatros is a contemporary of QE2 - nearing her own 50th birthday come to think of it and still going strong at sea. Great find and a great video showing her bridge and all!
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

 

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