Mauretania II Lifeboat


Martin Usher

Member
Sep 27, 2007
3
0
71
Hi everyone,

Last year I bought a ship's lifeboat converted to a cruiser, reputed to be from the Mauretania II and converted in the late 40's, which I am now refitting.

Last weekend whilst stripping the paint from the old original gunnels at the prow various stamped and engraved markings were revealed. On the Starboard side deeply engraved it says 28 0X9 0X3 85 = 54 PERSONS. The 28, 9, and 3 I know are the internal measurements which could lead to a coefficient of fineness of 85 but how does that calculate to 54 persons? Forward of these markings is a stamped B T with a crown between them which I presume is a Board of Trade stamp? Below this is a faintly stamped 3 45 and below that again an 8.

On the port side it reads 5680 54 PERSONS then more faintly MW1 MARK IV - 039. Any help with deciphering these markings would be greatly appreciated.

I have also been told that originally this lifeboat would have been like a giant pedalo with passengers turning foot pedals to propel the boat, is that correct?

Any other information, Mauretania II lifeboat conversion} about the lifeboats from the Mauretania II would be very much appreciated.
 
L

lewis beacham

Guest
Hi
I doubt very much that the lifeboat would have been like a giant pedalo.
My guess is that it would have been a motor lifeboat, but then again I might be wrong

From
Lewis
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Mar 16, 2000
5,052
333
433
In 1912, the formula for lifeboat capacity was L x B x D x .6 over 10. L was overall length, B was beam and D was depth of hull. The 10 was the number of cubic feet per person. The coefficient of fineness didn't come into it. The formula gave the approximate volume of the hull.

There may have been small changes since 1912, such as using a more precise calculation of the boat's volume than the rather arbitrary formula I give. I make your boat a 58 person boat by the old rule.

It's not totally impossible that the boat was pedal powered. Such things were played with. Mark Chirnside is the man we need here.

Best of luck with your conversion. I'm up to my neck in epoxy right now, and I'm only renovating a modern yacht. Will she be rigged to sail?
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
104
333
UK
Survivors of the torpedoed City of Benares (built 1936) mentioned that the lifeboats were designed to be propelled not only by oars but also by 'Fleming Gear' - an arrangement of hand operated cranks which turned a propellor. Here's a wartime description of Fleming Gear in use: "each occupant in the lifeboat had a vertical lever in front of him/her which he/she propelled backwards and forwards. This connected to a prop shaft. With say 10 people on the 'gear' you could get up to a fair lick of speed. A good idea really because rowing with lifeboat oars requires special skills."
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,615
734
563
Easley South Carolina
>>A good idea really because rowing with lifeboat oars requires special skills."<<

More like special co-ordination. An experienced team could just about do it in their sleep, but when trying it with scratch crews of deck seaman, engineers and passengers, the result wouldn't been out of place in a nautical version of The Keystone Kops.

Not that the Fleming gear would have been a whole lot better...it still would have been exhausting work...but at least you could steer the beast.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Mar 16, 2000
5,052
333
433
I now recall that the German raider Kormoran had a large boat that had originally been propelled by pedals. The propeller had been removed by the time Kormoran used it.

Hunting about, I turned up a fictional story in which characters escaped a burning liner in a pedal lifeboat. They evidently were around, though whether Mauretania used them is another thing.
 

Geof Watson

Member
Oct 11, 2020
2
0
1
Hi everyone,

Last year I bought a ship's lifeboat converted to a cruiser, reputed to be from the Mauretania II and converted in the late 40's, which I am now refitting.

Last weekend whilst stripping the paint from the old original gunnels at the prow various stamped and engraved markings were revealed. On the Starboard side deeply engraved it says 28 0X9 0X3 85 = 54 PERSONS. The 28, 9, and 3 I know are the internal measurements which could lead to a coefficient of fineness of 85 but how does that calculate to 54 persons? Forward of these markings is a stamped B T with a crown between them which I presume is a Board of Trade stamp? Below this is a faintly stamped 3 45 and below that again an 8.

On the port side it reads 5680 54 PERSONS then more faintly MW1 MARK IV - 039. Any help with deciphering these markings would be greatly appreciated.

I have also been told that originally this lifeboat would have been like a giant pedalo with passengers turning foot pedals to propel the boat, is that correct?

Any other information,Mauretania II lifeboat conversion} about the lifeboats from the Mauretania II would be very much appreciated.

Hi Martin,

I have just acquired a Lister SR4 Diesel engine which apparently came out of a Mauretania 2 lifeboat or launch ,
How likely is this to be true or would it have been a later conversion

Regards
 
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