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The Brede: Prototype of a New Lifeboat Based on the Lochin 33

Overall length 33ft Oin Waterline length 27ft 6in Maximum beam 12ft Oin Loaded draught Aft 3in Displacement 8'/2 tons Engines Twin Caterpillar 3208 naturally aspirated marine diesels with twin disc MG506 2:1 reduction gearboxes Power 203 shp at 2,800 rpm Fuel capacity 182 gallons Speed 20 knots Crew 4OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS the RNLI has been exploring the possibilities of introducing into its fleet new lifeboats of about 35 feet overall. The intention is that boats of this size should be available for allocation to stations for which the operational requirements demand a lifeboat larger, and with greater range, than the RNLI's present Atlantic 21 rigid inflatable lifeboat, but where a boat with the longer endurance of the 37ft 6in Rother, at present the smallest of the Institution's modern displacement lifeboats, would not be justified. The new lifeboats were required to be fast, essentially simple but with outstanding seakeeping qualities.

Development work has been in progress now for some little while on two designs; both are within the specified size range; both are fast; but. following different lines of thought, each has its own individual, but complementary, characteristics. Thus they offer the Institution added flexibility of choice when planning effective operational cover. A prototype of each of the two new classes is at present undergoing evaluation trials and both are showing great promise. One, described in the Spring issue of THE LIFEBOAT, is the experimental prototype rigid inflatable RNLI Medina, designed and developed at the RNLI's Cowes Base and built by the W. A. Souter and Son. The other, also an experimental prototype lifeboat, is the Brede, based on a commercial GRP hull of more traditional design, the Lochin 33, which has been developed and built to RNLI requirements by Lochin Marine (Rye) Ltd under the supervision and guidance of the Institution's technical staff.

The original Lochin 33 was first introduced in the early 1970s as a fishing boat for amateur sea anglers. Her builder, Frank Nichols, in commissioning her lines to be drawn by Robert Tucker, specified that she should be fast; that she should be as stable as possible, with a generous beam to length ratio; and that she should have good sea keeping capabilities whether driven at displacement or planing speeds. All these qualities, so desirable in a pleasure boat for sea angling, arejust the sort of qualities needed in a workboat, and it soon became clear that the Lochin 33, adapted for a variety of purposes, would be used more and more as a commercial boat. Well over 300 hulls have been built to the basic design and the Lochin is to be found in Scandinavia, along the seaboard of Northern Europe, in various parts of the Mediterranean and in America as well as all round the British Isles. The design has been used for commercial fishing, for sea fishery patrol work, for harbour launch work, as a fire tender and as a ferry. Among those authorities who have included the Lochin 33 in their fleet are the Swedish Navy, the Swedish Fire Service. Trinity House and the Gibraltar Police.

To good design was added a high standard of construction. Lochin Marine's GRP techniques in the building of its hulls are approved by Lloyds and by the equivalent Norwegian body.

Del Norske Veritas, as well as by the British White Fish Authority and the Department of Trade and Industry; in fitting out, the firm prides itself on the traditional skills of its shipwrights.

When, therefore, the RNLI was reviewing available commercial hulls for use as the basis of a new lifeboat, it found in the Lochin 33 the qualities of design and construction for which it was looking. It also found a boat already well tried in rough weather and it was decided to evaluate a suitably modified version in a lifeboat role. The structural and interior design of the Lochin 33 hull and superstructure for her role as an RNLI lifeboat was undertaken by Judd Varley in conjunction with Frank Nichols.

Brede was chosen as the class name for this new lifeboat in conformity with what is becoming the RNLI tradition of naming its modern lifeboats after the rivers or sailing waters by which the first of the class was designed or built.

The River Brede is a tributary of the River Rother which flows into the sea at Rye, past Lochin Marine boatyard.

Design and construction For her overall length of 33ft, the Brede has a generous maximum beam of 12ft and full sections, giving her good initial stability and ensuring that she will form a good working platform in a seaway whether stopped or at slow speed. Her throttles once opened, however, her broad flattened run aft gives her a planing surface on which she can rise to achieve her high speed.

She has a deep forefoot and fine entry below the waterline to cut into head seas, but to balance her full stern her bows have ample flare and buoyancy and when running in rough weather will ride up the waves. A deep keel, sloping down aft to make her loaded draught 4ft 3in, gives her good directional stability.

On station, the Brede will lie afloat at moorings.

In laying up her glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRP) hull a spray technique is used so that the process is fast and continuous, resulting in a finished structure of high quality. The scantlings of the stock hull are sturdy, but for her lifesaving role the Brede has been given additional strength. Her frames, which are extended in 'hoops' right round the superstructure wherever possible, are of polyurethane encapsulated in GRP; her longitudinals are hardwood and they, too, are encased in GRP. The wheelhouse is further stiffened with two stainless steel pillars (which also provide good extra supports for the crew moving about the wheelhouse under way).

The hull is divided into five watertight compartments with bulkheads of 19mm marine ply and all void compartments within the hull are filled with foam; in fact the Brede contains enough foam buoyancy to float her even if all her watertight compartments should be flooded at the same time.

For her size, the Brede has an unusually spacious wheelhouse. It is watertight, and, together with a buoyancy block mounted at the after end of her cockpit, provides the boat's self-righting capability. The buoyancy block is made of polyurethane foam covered with GRP.

All controls are in the wheelhouse.

The Brede is fitted with Pye Beaver VHP radio, a Ferrograph G240 graphic echo sounder and Decca 060L radar, all so placed that they are within reach or easy vision of the coxswain; thus, with single lever controls for the engines, the coxswain can handle the boat and all her mechanical and electronic equipment by himself, whenever the rest of the crew are needed on deck; and, with an Easco two-way intercomm unit, he can still be in constant communication with his crew without interfering with the watertight integrity of the wheelhouse.

In designing the layout of the wheelhouse particular attention has been paid to making sure that the crew will arrive on the scene of a casualty warm and dry and in the best possible shape and that survivors can be brought home with the minimum further exposure.

There are sprung pedestal seats for coxswain and navigator and upholstered bench seats on the forward side of the main bulkhead for the two remaining crew members and two survivors; all seats have lap straps.

There is a cabin for survivors, large enough to take a stretcher, forward of the wheelhouse. Access for a stretcher will be easy; from the ample space of the cockpit it can be carried below straight through the central watertight doors in the two bulkheads and down into the fore cabin.

Wheelhouse and fore cabin are both well ventilated, the vents all being fitted with valves which will close automatically should the boat be capsized.

Equally, they will re-open as soon as the boat rights.

There is a compartment with a chemical toilet in the fore cabin and a water heater is fitted in the wheelhouse so that hot drinks can be prepared on an extended service or for the succour of survivors.

On deck, as below, there are plenty of handholds. Around the foredeck there is an inboard pulpit which itself forms a strong handrail. In addition, a lifeline will be fitted from the forward end of the wheelhouse to the forward end of the pulpit to which the crews' safety lanyards can be attached, giving them the greatest possible secure mobility on deck.

The anchor and all ropes and lines are stowed in the cockpit aft, which is fitted with eight large self-acting freeing ports; no intruding waves will stay onboard for more than a matter of seconds.

On each quarter is a strong bollard for towing, and an emergency tiller can be fitted on the starboard rudder stock.

Engines The Brede is fitted with twin Caterpillar 3208 naturally aspirated marine diesel engines with twin disc MG506 2:1 reduction gearboxes. She has already attained a speed of 20 knots, but trials are still in progress. Different propellers have been designed and it is thought that her potential speed is 22'/2 knots; she will, therefore, be the fastest of the RNLI's conventional hulled lifeboats.

She has exceptionally good manoevrability; indeed, stopped, she can spin in her own length, and she can round a mark with the precision of a racing boat.

The engines are housed under the bridgedeck and within the boat's watertight superstructure. Like all theInstitution's modern lifeboat engines, they are modified so that they will operate after capsize and continue to drive the boat. Access for minor adjustments under way is through small watertight hatches in the bridgedeck and cockpit, but for routine maintenance at moorings there are much larger hatches and the engine room can be opened right up.

Conclusion The Brede shows promise of becoming a lifeboat which will be fast, seaworthy and efficient, and which at the same time will be economic to build, run and maintain. Initial reaction indicates that she will be well liked by the crews who man her. Early trials in moderate conditions have shown that she is comfortable under way and her manoeuvrability, speed and acceleration are impressive.

In accordance with the Institution's normal practice the prototype Brede will be subjected to thorough evaluation on the coast, to determine whether any modifications are necessary so as to ensure the new design will meet the exacting standards required for operating in lifeboat service conditions before she is accepted as being suitable for station use..