rdave Vosper Fibre Glass Sweepers

  Strawballs 18:02 07 Oct 2012

rdave asked me if I knew about the GRP sweepers build by Vosper Thornycroft.

I actually spent 6 years in the GRP at Woolston between 1996 - 2002.

Yes they did build a lot of sweepers for the RN 2 different types MCMV's Mine counter measure vessels and the later Sandown Class of SRMH

  rdave13 18:19 07 Oct 2012

It must have been 1971 not 1970 when I was there. Exiting times with the 'new' technology of GRP, now called 'fibreglass'. The first trial vessels were docked at Vospers quays when I was an apprentice, at the time, in Woolston Training Center for Yacht and Boat Building, Southampton. In that year the QE II was docked there and , if I remember correctly, a nuclear submarine , I can't remember the subs name, was docked for the last time before she was sent to the knackers yard. I'll have to google the name for the sub. I was simply stunned at the sizes of these vessels, bearing in mind, I was only 17 at the time.

Strawballs, as the hulls were 'plastic' how successful were these boats? Would be very interested in your reply.

  Woolwell 18:36 07 Oct 2012

radve13 - They have been very successful. Over 20 mine counter measure ships have been built for the Royal Navy. The big advantage is non-magnetic construction which is a distinct advantage when dealing with magnetic mines. Some have been sold off/retired fairly early due to the defence cuts.

GRP is now used for most MCM vessels around the world. The Italians have successfully sold derivatives of their Lerici class including Australia and USA. Yet again why has UK lost out?

  rdave13 18:42 07 Oct 2012

Woolwell ,Yet again why has UK lost out?

Good inventors, bad businessmen. We're a daft country. Best brains and give the knowledge away as usual.

Puts the Great in Britain I suppose.

  Woolwell 18:45 07 Oct 2012

HMS Wiltn was the first GRP warship in the world. Commissioned in 1973 she was decommissioned in 1994 and is now the home of the Essex Yacht Club at Leigh-on-Sea.

  Woolwell 18:46 07 Oct 2012

Wilton is the correct spelling.

  Woolwell 18:55 07 Oct 2012

BTW I doubt that you saw a nuclear submarine before disposal. The first one wasn't decommissioned until the early 1980's.

  rdave13 19:02 07 Oct 2012

Not long after the Mine Sweepers (as called then) were trialled.

Found this archive and that is where the college still runs I believe.

Looking at Google maps, the place has changed dramatically, just a bridge to cross the Solent today.

  rdave13 19:12 07 Oct 2012

Woolwell you are right I think. Mixed it up with the QE II. She was the one that was 'scrapped' and went to the USA I believe.

At the time we could have had a guided tour around the ship for a very expensive fiver. By the time I had the fiver there was a bomb scare and no one was allowed near the docks. As far as the Sub is concerned I thought it was Nautilus , that's what I remembered seeing on the posters.

  Woolwell 19:20 07 Oct 2012

Nautilus was/is American.

  rdave13 19:28 07 Oct 2012

Possibly the first nuclear sub on these shores then?

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