This iconic vessel, the sole prototype of the BH7 class was designed solely for military operations and is a unique and irreplaceable craft, historically very important and played an important role in the development of hovercraft.
It was not only an exceptionally fast multi-purpose naval vessel but it was also used to demonstrate the potential of hovercraft and for this purpose was sent to Europe and the USA. It certainly played an important part in in helping to convince the Americans to invest heavily in hovercraft development.
Her "chassis" was a buoyancy tank divided into watertight cells. With an excess of 200% buoyancy she was virtually unsinkable. Made of aluminium light alloys the bow and side panels were fabricated in glass fibre rather than the normal alloy cladding.
She is on display at the museum, facing out on to the Solent and remains a star attraction. The public can go on board and step back into time. Her unusual chimney like sonar device and clam shell door add to the mystery and appeal.
Fast Ferry: International Hovercraft Museum Seeks Permanent Home, pp29-31, December 1993
Heron, Liz, The News, 4 December 1998
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