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Raleigh provides training for HMS Queen Elizabeth

24 January 2018
Sailors from the Royal Navy’s new Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, have been trained to operate the ship’s latest workboats in a course designed and delivered by staff at HMS Raleigh.

Four Seaman Specialists from the ship have spent two weeks learning how to manoeuvre the craft on the River Lynher, Tamar and out in Plymouth Sound.  

Unlike the current fleet of small boats operated by the Royal Navy, the workboats are powered by two water-jets.

Petty Officer ‘Smudge’ Smith, the lead instructor for the course, said:  “These boats react very differently in the water compared to the Pacific 24 Ribs, which operate with a single jet.  

This is totally different to driving the normal fast rescue boat; we have to learn something totally different.

Leading Seaman Sykes

“One of the main differences is the way the boat is brought alongside. 

“These need far less space as we can use a manoeuvre called crabbing, which is basically moving the boat side-ways through the water, so there is a lot more scope for going into smaller areas.”

The workboats will be used as passenger transfer boats (PTB) on HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will be essential, as due to her size many ports will not be able to accommodate her and she will be at anchor. 

The PTB’s will be an essential lifeline to shore, transferring personnel and stores. 

Therefore the normal navigation training package has been tweaked to include more in depth transit routes instruction in and out of ports. Each of the carriers will carry four PTBs on board. 

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Leading Seaman Martin ‘Neville’ Longbottom said:  “The traditional RIB driving is kind of the equivalent of making a cut across fields; you can see where you need to get to and you can say I’m happy I can go across that way. 

“With the PTBs the marked channel will be the road to follow, particularly when we go into foreign ports.”

HMS Raleigh the lead Royal Navy School for Seamanship training.  The two-week course has been designed by Chief Petty Officer Chris Pye.

HMS Raleigh will take delivery of a new class of workboat later this year and are currently using a boat from the Army for twin jet training.

Leading Seaman Eric Sykes, who is also assigned to the Aircraft carrier, said:  “This is totally different to driving the normal fast rescue boat; we have to learn something totally different.

“The controls are different and it’s hard to get your head round how the boat reacts at first.  It’s been a really good course. 

“We’ve been learning a lot of new skills and there’s lot to take in.”

The Ministry of Defence awarded a contract for the design and construction of up to 38 workboats last year. 

Ranging in length from 11 to 18 metres, the boats will perform other tasks including Officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College, diving tender and will also replace the current class of Survey motor boat. 

The PTB variant assigned to the Carriers will carry up to 36 passengers at one time.

The boats have been designed and built by Atlas Elecktronik Uk in Dorchester.  Other companies involved in the supply chain include E P Barrus in Bicester, KPM-Marine in Birmingham and Mashfords in South East Cornwall.

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