Royal Navy BRNC small boats get upgraded engines

Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) boats used for Royal Navy Officer Cadets seamanship training have been upgraded with new engines.

The 12 boats, known as motor whalers, have been fitted with a Yanmar 3 cylinder engine to prolong their lives and to standardise the Fleet.

Warrant Officer 1 Alan Richardson, the River Officer at BRNC, said: “The whalers are a common sight on the river and are regularly used by the Cadets during their 30-week initial training course.

“Along with the larger Picket boats they are a great training asset to give the cadets their first exposure to the river operating a single propelled boat.

“The Cadets are taught a range of manoeuvres including how to pick up a mooring buoy, recover a man overboard and come alongside a jetty and then leave safely. They are also taught how to operate the vessel in a confined area.

“Moving on to more advanced manoeuvres later in training, the Cadets learn how to secure the whaler alongside a picket boat underway and also how to beach and anchor the vessel.”

The motor whaler is a 27 foot open boat, weighing in at approximately 2.5 tons. It is constructed of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP).

The Royal Navy has used the whaler in various forms for 150 years. Previously they could be seen on the davits of most warships and were used as a ships tender, general sea-boat and lifeboat.

The whalers were gradually phased out by the Royal Navy and have been replaced on warships by rigid inflatable boats (Ribs), in particular the Pacific 24.

BRNC’s whalers are the only ones still owned by the Royal Navy. They were built between 1970 and 1989. Other boats have survived and are now used by members of the Sea Cadet Corps.

The whalers original engines were Lister. This is the second upgrade to the boats at BRNC. The whalers were originally converted to a three cylinder Yanmar engine in 2003.