‘The Princess Anne’ works update

What a busy month since the last update! One of the major operations from our list has been completed and a number of other cosmetic jobs have been carried out, all helping to make ‘Anne’ as I keep saying, “look like a hovercraft again”

All four propellers now sit proudly atop their pylons, with all of the cowlings/covers in place. This was a major undertaking due to all of the necessary heavy lifting equipment, health and safety considerations and weather ( of course it was windy when we opted to do it!) Huge thanks to all of our kind volunteers who helped with this task and our neighbour, MRB Transport for assisting with the Crane.    ( look out for a short film of this – coming soon)

Our midweek volunteer team have replaced the hinges and refitted both forward emergency exit doors, with the fresh paint showing how good the craft will look.20170416_122238_HDR

Finally, the Radars have been replaced on top of the cockpit after being refinished and a large, unsightly and redundant power cable has been removed.

Next, we are preparing for the polishing of the Makrolon Bow windows that have gone hazy over time and the first stage of the painting by building safe work towers to access the fore decks that must be replaced beforehand.


SR.N4 ‘The Princess Anne’ update

Dear friends

As the newly appointed Project Manager for the SR.N 4 Princess Anne, I would like to provide you all with the first of many updates on the various restoration activities.

After a short period of adjustment at the Museum over the winter (which included new trustees, volunteers and associated handovers) we can now start in earnest, our plans for the restoration of our largest exhibit, The Princess Anne.

As we move into springtime, the opportunity to begin our long list of works must be grabbed with both hands! Several activities have been highlighted as priorities with many less pressing jobs also identified.

At the top of the list is the need to make the rather fragile roof watertight and safe to walk on, which is no small feat given the large square metre area! A number of options have been considered for this, none of them cheap or quick to implement, so in the short term, individual repairs will continue to be carried out by our small engineering team.

Equally important is the impending transfer of the Propellers from her sister craft The Princess Margaret. All of the preparative work has been completed and this week, we are in the final stages of ensuring that the health and safety and permissions aspects of the operation are all satisfied.

All being well, the work will commence in the early morning of Saturday 18th March, with a small focussed team of personnel. The removal of props from Margaret is expected to be completed this weekend, but the whole swap process could take up to 2 weeks depending on the weather and other factors, so we ask that during this time, all volunteers/ visitors please observe the health and safety requirements that will be in place on site i.e Hi Viz jackets, Barriers, signage and instructions.

Also, a priority is the re-painting of the craft in the Seaspeed livery. The Paint and associated equipment is currently being sourced in preparation of the proposed work party that will make a start on this on the 23rd March.

There is also now a Whiteboard located near the bow ramp of Princess Anne, which details the status of the priority jobs. As always, if you would like to come down and help, we would greatly appreciate some hands-on volunteers!  (See our volunteer page for more info)

All of this, of course, requires funding on a scale that matches the size of the craft, so look out for some funding incentives in the near future and please- spread the word!  In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please take a look at our SRN4 GoFundMe page at https://uk.gofundme.com/srn4hovercraft.

Steve McGarry on behalf of the Trustees

SRN4 Update

Work continues on The Princess Anne to get the roof temporarily watertight before winter sets in.  The HMT Engineering and Site teams have been working to patch the main problem areas, and next year we will start more long term work to preserve and seal the roof.  Some surfaces have already been prepped ready for painting, with the first layer of primer paint going on this Wednesday (2nd Nov 16) on the side decks.

Unfortunately, at this time there is no more news on The Princess Margaret.

SR.N4 Update 15/04/16: We got it!

SRN4 “The Princess Anne” saved for the Nation!

The Hovercraft Museum Trust is delighted to announce that they have been successful in securing the future of SRN4 “The Princess Anne”.

We are also absolutely delighted to announce we will partially open the craft to the public at the Hovershow next weekend!!!

We have worked very closely with our landlord, the Homes & Communities Agency to land an initial three-year lease (at peppercorn rent) with the intention of the HCA to hand the craft over completely to the Trust at the end of the 3 years.

This time, period allows us to fulfil obligations in making the craft safe and of smart appearance.

We would like to thank the team at HCA, the 23,000 signatories to our petition and the support of the Museum’s local MP Caroline Dineage. There has been an awful lot of work going on behind the scenes.

Special thanks also go to our hardworking team of volunteers and trustees who have managed the campaign and we would also like to thank Cliff Valize-Jones for setting up the Save the SRN4 Facebook group which massively raised our profile.

The real work starts now, though – volunteers to undertake work on her please get in touch!

Wednesday this week we will drop the bow ramp to allow access for volunteers to prep part of the craft for public access but we have a huge job list to do before the craft is fully open and accessible.

Also, share and support our fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/srn4hovercraft

Many thanks again for all your help and support.

Ben Avery
On Behalf of The Hovercraft Museum Trust

SRN4 Update 10/8/16

Two SRN4s at Dover Hoverport

Built in 1969, “The Princess Anne” was the second of six giant hovercraft built in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. She operated as a ferry and after being stretched in 1978 she, along with sister craft “The Princess Margaret”, became the world’s largest commercial hovercraft operating between Dover, UK and Calais in France. They were soon nick-named the “Super 4’s”. Capable of carrying 427 passengers and up to 60 cars her service speed was 65 Knots (approximately 75mph).

An average journey would take 30 minutes and she could handle sea conditions of up to 3.5m significant wave height and mean winds of 50 knots. “The Princess Anne” to this day still holds the Guinness Record as the world’s fastest ferry with a crossing time of just 22 minutes in 1997!

An SRN4 Arriving at DaedalusAfter 33 years of service both surviving craft were retired and moved here to Lee-on-the-Solent for storage pending onward sale. In 2005 a private buyer came forward and purchased the craft mainly for engine spares and they have sat here ever since. Despite having permission in the past to occasionally open them to the public, the Museum has been unable to carry out any preventative maintenance work to either craft and has up until this point been helpless.

Finally, in early 2016, ownership transferred to the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) who are the owners of the Daedalus site. When this happened, thee future for these two giants was uncertain and the Hovercraft Museum launched a high profile campaign to save one of the craft from scrap. Over 22,000 people signed the petition – they, like us, felt that a truly wonderful and unique piece of British maritime heritage was about to be lost forever.

We are still in negotiations with the HCA which will hopefully lead to an initial 3-year lease for the Hovercraft Museum in which time we have to stabilise the structure and make the craft presentable. After this period, it would be the intention of the HCA to hand over ownership to the Museum.

Why Are We Only Saving One Craft?

A view of an SRN4 hovercraft from above.The decision was taken very early on by the trust to focus on saving one of the two craft. We have over 65 other hovercraft in the collection and we are a relatively small group of dedicated volunteers and enthusiasts. We receive no funding at all as we lease the site the Museum is based on and we are completely independent.

We rely on donations and money received through the ticket office. At 54 x 27m the SRN4 is enormous and to look after two of these machines is beyond our limited budget. We also have to consider the bigger picture and fit in with the redevelopment of the Daedalus site which is primarily happening to create new jobs.

After surveying both craft it soon became apparent the craft in the best structural condition is “The Princess Anne” and she will give us the best basis for a long term exhibit here.

What is Our Plan for the Craft?

“The Princess Anne” will become our flagship exhibit here at the Hovercraft Museum. She will be used to tell the story of how in the white-heat of technology development in the 1960’s, and less than 10 years since the first hovercraft was built, Britain built the Concorde of the Sea.

As much as we would love to see her back on the water, modern regulations make restoring the craft to a seaworthy and Coast Guard compliant state prohibitively expensive (let alone maintenance and operating costs!) We also have other craft we would like to put back to work on the water that will be more practical for regular pleasure rides in the near future.

We will stabilise the structure, seal the roof, re-instate the world’s largest diameter propellers and re-paint her into her glorious red, white and blue livery from 1978. The vast car deck will be used as additional exhibition space and will be available for private function hire as well. One side cabin will be kept in original specification, ‘as in service’ whilst the other will be re-configured in order to help us tell the SRN4 story with displays and videos. All this work will need many hands as well as kind donations from the public!

If you would like to help us on this project (no practical experience necessary), whether it be cleaning, painting, electrical, woodwork or metalwork, please speak to any of our volunteers here today or email us at enquiries@hovercraft-museum.org

SRN4 Update 14/7/16

Work has begun to remove hazardous waste, old oils and kerosene from both craft.

Contractors working for HCA began the work yesterday, with technical support from Hovercraft Museum staff.

This is an important step towards us being able to secure one of the craft for the nation at the Museum although we can’t be more specific than this at the moment – stand by for further updates soon!

UPDATE: Approx 4000L of 16year-old kerosene, contaminated with stagnant water, was successfully removed from the craft.

Petition to save SRN4

We recently launched a campaign and petition to save the Princess Anne SRN4.

In February the petition signatures had reached a fantastic 21,000 and counting.

Help us to save one of the last two giant SRN4 craft on our site for the nation!