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View Full Version : 16' Fast Motor Dinghy-'Skimming Dish"


werik
06-11-2007, 16:41
Hello out there. I bought my first boat this spring, not really knowing what she is. _ FMD 5383.built -1953 by Bushnells , Wargrave Oxon. Now I have got most of her history via the BMPT- thankfully. I know of their one and another on HMS Belfast. However I really love the restoration, and would like to find if any more are still out there.
Mine was fitted with a Coventry Climax KF4 engine , and never assigned to a ship but kept in Naval reserve, till decommissioned in 1962.
I'd be glad to hear from anybody's experience with them. She's a wee beauty. I lam a Scot and live in SW France, so will play on the Charente and on the sea around Rochfort and La Rochelle.
At present she is engineless , and missing tank and instruments. . . .nothing insurmountable. . . . . . I still have to give her a suitable name.

Batstiger
06-11-2007, 18:33
Congratulations I wish you luck with your project. Here's a pic of what you will be doing on completion.

Bob.

werik
06-11-2007, 19:29
Thanks for the pic. . . . .now I see why some fitted a windscreen!
cheers. . . Erik

Batstiger
06-11-2007, 19:55
Erik, they were great little boats. I coxswained one on the Termagant 1953/54 smashing when going flat out but when you came alongside and shut the throttle the bows used to drop right down and you lost steerage way. Until you got used to this little quirk and made yourself look a complete idiot things were a bit awkward. Be warned! It wasn't too bad if you had a couple of passengers stood up in the stern. Captains of various destroyers always wanted the fastest Skimmer so it was quite a competitive job.

Bob.

Grosser Kreuzer
14-04-2009, 12:48
Bob,

I've always been intrigued but what speed could the "skimmer" achieve "flat out." They had all disappeared by the time I joined the RN (or at least, I never saw one), so the type has something of the "mythical beast" quality in my eyes.

Thanks.

PS The early versions were fitted with a canvas screen up forrard and not the wind shield shown in the picture.

Commodore Armiger
14-04-2009, 16:06
Do we need 2 threads about this subject, fascinating as it is?

benbow30
17-04-2009, 21:47
Regarding the skimming dish our skipper on the Contest in58/59 in the med. tried water sking with ours and on occasions she got waterlogged
Benbow30

HMS Bergamot
18-04-2009, 09:45
g tank and instruments. . . .nothing insurmountable. . . . . . I still have to give her a suitable name.

I've given this some thought. Given your location, and the type of vessel, I would like to suggest......

wait for it.....


La écumoire

Well, there you go, what do you think?

Regards,

werik
04-07-2009, 21:46
I'm sorry not to have been in touch for a while. The work has carried on non-stop since then though and she is beginning to look like a 'proper ' boat .
I'll send you some pics for your interest. . . .I don't know how to get them onto the forum. . .I always seem to get it wrong !
Anyhow. . .she will be named - ' Dragonfly'.
I am now struggling to envisage installing the engine I bought. It shouldn't be so hard. . it's just that I am a complete beginner with boats.
I bought a Gray Marine Express 4-140 petrol engine and box which is about the same size and power as the original diesel one.
In the Admiralty specs they allowed a choice of petrol or diesel , and as this is the same age, I think it should be acceptable.
I discovered that we are 4 so far. . . .mine. . . . .the one on 'Belfast'( which is one of the same batch as mine from Bushnells). . . .the 'Dainty' of the BMPT and recently another at the West Wales Marine Heritage society. That's not a lot out of 954 .
Anyhow some pics for you. . . of---'Dragonfly'

Hope you approve !. . .
I'm still researching all sorts of things to get it right so any contacts will be very welcome
Cheers. . .Erik

once again I failed to get my pics into the message !--some day !

John Odom
04-07-2009, 22:01
We are waiting for the pics!

Batstiger
04-07-2009, 23:09
Here you are John I have just received them.

Hello again Bob,
I'm sorry not to have been in touch for a while. The work has carried on non-stop since then though and she is beginning to look like a 'proper ' boat .
I'll send you some pics for your interest. . . .I don't know how to get them onto the forum. . .I always seem to get it wrong !
Anyhow. . .she will be named - ' Dragonfly'.
I am now struggling to envisage installing the engine I bought. It shouldn't be so hard. . it's just that I am a complete beginner with boats.
I bought a Gray Marine Express 4-140 petrol engine and box which is about the same size and power as the original diesel one.
In the Admiralty specs they allowed a choice of petrol or diesel , and as this is the same age, I think it should be acceptable.
I discovered that we are 4 so far. . . .mine. . . . .the one on 'Belfast'( which is one of the same batch as mine from Bushnells). . . .the 'Dainty' of the BMPT and recently another at the West Wales Marine Heritage society. That's not a lot out of 954 .
Anyhow some pics for you. . . of---'Dragonfly'

Hope you approve !. . .if you want to put that into the forum - that would be nice.
I'm still researching all sorts of things to get it right so any contacts will be very welcome
Cheers. . .Erik





Regards, Bob.

Don Jensen
17-06-2010, 19:52
Does anyone have a photo of a skimming dish,I was coxwain of one of these whilst serving. Iam now writing my life story and would like to include a picture.
Harveybon2

qprdave
17-06-2010, 20:44
I have moved the request for the Skimmer picture to this thread and removed the post from Bob directing the member to here

You will find a picture in Post #2

qprdave

John Odom
17-06-2010, 22:50
A real beauty Werik! Be sure to send pictures when she is waterborne!

tim lewin
18-06-2010, 05:39
Dear all on this thread, some time ago i posted a whole spread of shots of the restored skimmer aboard Belfast, poss in a Belfast thread? if you want them again, or more, please PM me and i would be happy to oblige.

As a child I remember riding in the skimmer from HMYB and Corunna vividly; by the time my father got back to sea again 4 years later the Gemini had replaced the skimmer, now that you could waterski behind! it was also a handy lilo for jack to sunbather on if some of the air was let out, in Urchin it lived on the quarterdeck.
tim

tim lewin
18-06-2010, 06:06
The Belfast boat pics are posted under RN skimmer on 04 Dec 2007...
tim

tim lewin
18-06-2010, 09:46
i should add that if you want more and greater detail just let me know, its no trouble to take them i am usually there at min every 10 days.
tim

Batstiger
18-06-2010, 10:59
Why can't people leave things alone?
I answered the question that Don posed, surely that was sufficient without going to all this trouble?
Moderators nowadays tend to jump in just for the sake of it.

Bob.

alanandbren
18-06-2010, 12:35
Why can't people leave things alone?
I answered the question that Don posed, surely that was sufficient without going to all this trouble?
Moderators nowadays tend to jump in just for the sake of it.

Bob.

with you on that one Bob.

tim lewin
18-06-2010, 14:45
here is the thread posted 3 years ago

werik
24-10-2014, 19:31
Hello everyone who troubled to write. It was most appreciated !. After 7 years of hard work I now have the last and only original working example of the FMD. I will be making up a website about the whole restoration journey.
It has been extraordinary. . . . . .I will be back in touch and hope you will approve of 'Dragonfly' . . .she is quite the "real thing " !
Cheers. . .Erik

werik
15-01-2015, 21:29
'FMD 5383- Dragonfly'

After 7 long years here she is on the River Charente. I could only use half power as the river is too small !! PLEASE excuse the White Ensign. . . this was a fitting choice for the special day. As I said, you can see lots more on the forums of the YBW.com, and the Small Boat Club one too.
I want to make up a website to show the whole story, and I am hoping that the magazine 'Watercraft' will be publishing a big article on her.

http://s1383.photobucket.com/user/eckie2/media/DSCN0718_zps7e4fb81a.jpg.

werik
24-02-2015, 07:28
Hello again ! If you get a chance to see the latest " Watercraft" magazine. . .out on the 26th of Feb.
They have an article all about the rebuild of 'Dragonfly'. Amazing how they managed to choose the pics from the hundreds !
Hope you enjoy it.
Cheers. . .Erik

Rob Hoole
24-02-2015, 08:19
A wonderful result, Erik. Well done. I'm sure you'll get a lot of enjoyment out of her.

My old 'sea-daddy' and best man Doug Barlow provided the accompanying photo showing Jenny with members of her side party on board the cruiser HMS Newfoundland when he visited Hong Kong in 1957. Just to satisfy my curiosity, are they posing in a Fast Motor Dinghy (skimming dish)?

werik
26-02-2015, 17:04
Hi Rob. . .Blimey. . .another Photograph for the collection !! yes indeed . . that's an FMD for sure !
Thanks a lot !
Erik

Scurs
27-02-2015, 07:38
As "Newfy's" sister ship (CEYLON), we must have been "seen off" as I don't recall us having a skimming dish in 1958............:(

werik
11-03-2015, 19:30
Don't panic ! 'Ceylon'. . . you can buy a perfect one right now ! 'Dragonfly' will be for sale as she is sadly too powerful for the river Charente, and she is the last of the breed.

Rob Hoole
11-03-2015, 22:17
Don't panic ! 'Ceylon'. . . you can buy a perfect one right now ! 'Dragonfly' will be for sale as she is sadly too powerful for the river Charente, and she is the last of the breed.

What a pity. I hope she goes to a good home.

What speed can she achieve?

Scurs
12-03-2015, 20:29
Read somewhere the "dish" could whack up to around 33 knots, but I am darned if I know where I read it. Would be happy to buy one, I live on the coast........all I need to do is win a very substantial amount on the Lottery!

benbow30
01-04-2015, 22:49
YES thats a fmd drove that one a few times in Newfi 55/56 had to drive it durring killicks board. for boat work amongst others.
Benbow30

werik
16-06-2015, 21:21
Hello everyone. . . . .I finally made a website to tell the whole story. . . I hope you enjoy it . Sadly Dragonfly is for sale , as she really is far too powerful for the river Charente. I would be very pleased if she could find a good home back in Britain.
Have a look !. . .http://erikpam.wix.com/rnhistoricspeedboat

cheers. . . Erik

Rob Hoole
17-06-2015, 11:30
A lovely story, Erik.

Good luck with a suitable buyer. If only my circumstances were different. :(

Pluto
17-06-2015, 11:58
Wot is the asking price for a job like that.? Or is it one of those `if you`ve got to ask the price you havn`t got enough`.

werik
17-06-2015, 19:37
Exactly. . . .I would happily discuss it with someone who would appreciate her as the last of the line and take her on into the next generation. If I won the lottery I would donate her to the Maritime museum. . .however I feel she should get a few sea miles under her before that. She should be a lot of fun.

werik
18-06-2015, 07:10
Dear Pluto. . . . .As you will appreciate, the question of price is very difficult as she is unique and the last of the breed.. Considering the hours put in alone it would be astronomic ! So I have to absorb those as- my "contribution " - and it WAS fun.
Then I have all the receipts which are considerable. The trailer and the spares as well.
Then we have the rarity of the craft and it's significance to the Royal Navy and the WW2 period.
So. . .where does that leave us ?
If you are really interested give me a call at. . .0033 (0) 5 45 81 03 31
Don't forget we are an hour ahead.
All the best. . . . Erik

Pluto
18-06-2015, 10:30
Thanks Erik, but from what you state above my measly pension would hardly be enough to cover a small percentage of your time and effort you have put in restoring the `F M D` afraid I will have to continue to dream on.

tim lewin
18-06-2015, 11:47
Looking back i can see this thread is almost as old as Erik's restoration! for general interest here is a pic of the Gemini which replaced the skimmer, powered by a 40HP Johnson outboard. this pic shows Captain TTL on leaving the 17th FS being towed ashore, to the family ford Cortina, in a Gemini mounted on a gun-carriage, approx 1962-3??
tim

werik
18-06-2015, 20:10
15 men with their feet off the ground !! not with my 1.4ton FMD they wouldn't !!

BelliniTosi
21-06-2015, 12:40
Looking back i can see this thread is almost as old as Erik's restoration! for general interest here is a pic of the Gemini which replaced the skimmer, powered by a 40HP Johnson outboard. this pic shows Captain TTL on leaving the 17th FS being towed ashore, to the family ford Cortina, in a Gemini mounted on a gun-carriage, approx 1962-3??
tim

Tim,
As the Skimmer was used as the skipper's runabout I don't think the Gemini replaced it, there is no way that the skipper could be transported around the harbour with dignity in a Gemini, especially if he was booted and suited with sword and medals.
I think the skimmers replacement was the Fairey Huntress.
John

Rob Hoole
21-06-2015, 13:06
TON class MCMVs had no choice but to use a Gemini inflateable dinghy. HMS Laleston once paid an official visit to St Leonards-on-Sea because we were affiliated with the Sea Cadet unit. We had to anchor off and the CO left the ship in the Gemini to call on the local dignitaries. Fully booted and spurred, he braced himself up forward and stood feet apart while clinging on to the boat rope for dear life. As the Gemini neared the shore, the cox'n had trouble with the throttle and drove up the beach where the CO abruptly toppled head first at the feet of the admiring crowd of onlookers.

Scurs
21-06-2015, 20:52
Rob.............I bet subsequent defaulters was a hoot, "Did negligently fulfill the duty imposed upon him, in that he did tip the Captain base over apex from the Gemini onto the beach, this being any aggravated offense". (well the skipper must have been "aggravated" :D)

How many days 9's was that worth? :D:D

No idea what replaced the skimmer in small ships, but CEYLON's skipper used a 32ft FMB his boat.

tim lewin
22-06-2015, 04:50
this would have been in 1961/2 when he was captain F17, first in Urchin and then in Tenby, neither of these had a skimmer, from memory they had a pulling whaler, training, a 3 in 1 whaler and a standard 28 foot cutter so to nip about between ships the gemini was used for convenience. The boats crew made him a special little chair in which he sat trying to look dignified as the cox whizzed him between ships with another sailor lying prone in the pointy end of the lilo holding aloft the captain's pennant. This was, as said, for inter-ship (5-6 in the Sqn) visits but for more formal visits the cutter was lowered. I remember from his personal point of view the gemini was both convenient and great fun. I dont recall how they put it in the water, it lived on the QD but with no torpedo davit, there was in the T15 nowhere to keep a skimmer. And a Fairy would have been way too much luxury!
tim

werik
28-06-2015, 22:28
Sorry to harp on. . . .I would really appreciate any advice on the best way to find a new owner for 'Dragonfly'. Are there magazines, or forums or addresses I could try ?
It has been hard enough to come up with a figure. . .How do you price something like this ?

Things to consider. . .1: The rarity . . .the last one out of 954
2 : The period. . WW2
3: The condition and quality of the rebuild.
4: Who would make a suitable owner.
5: Where she is right now. . . . viz -inspection. ( of course the custom trailer is included )
6: Material costs and the labour hours involved
7: How little I would accept .

SO. . . . .as I am the only one who can answer these I have to come up with a figure of £ 75 - 80K.

I am sure that is a small sum for the right buyer. . . and I could ask more . . .but to be realistic that's where I stand at the moment. I haven't advertised as yet. . . . so really appreciate anything you would advise.
I probably would not like ( or expect) her to go to a Frenchman. She needs to go forward into the future as a piece of British Royal Navy history.
cheers . . . Erik
email - erikpam@me.com
website - http://erikpam.wix.com/rnhistoricspeedboat

werik
28-08-2015, 11:20
Just to keep you informed folks. I have started to advertise 'Dragonfly'. . .just online for the moment, as it is relatively cheap. I reckon the price of £55,000 will be more realistic. ( whatever that is ! )
Someone stated that she is " just a little boat ". I replied . . ." Spitfires and Hurricanes are just little airplanes ! "
Soon I will place with 'Classic Boat'. . . I am just recuperating from cataract removals from both eyes. . . . .. . It's still a bit strange with the glasses situation !. Cheers . . . Erik

PS : what did you think of my website ? It's amazing what one can do these days
http://erikpam.wix.com/rnhistoricspeedboat

ivorthediver
28-08-2015, 16:16
Well Erik what can you add to that really a wonderful job all round and a credit to you newly found additional skills .

If I win the lottery I will be beating a track to your door with a cheque , but sadly like you I am a pensioner who has to satisfy his nautical leanings to model ships of the line but fully appreciate the learning curve you have traveled

I wish you well for not only taking the time and trouble to save this beauty from a premature death but for your Pride in the RN which is evident in your web site

Respect and kind regards to a deserving cause ...Ivor

oldsalt
07-09-2015, 17:23
The only ship I served on that had a Skimming Dish was Wrangler 1950. The Captain used to "drive" himself. Petrol being dangerous was the reason for their demise.

phill rose
18-10-2015, 14:55
Thanks to the Tal Handaq site for this one.

On the subject of boats, in the second picture, what type would the one under cover in the background be?

Scurs
18-10-2015, 16:41
As it has what I believe to be an Admiral's flag painted on the bows (not possible to identify whether Admiral, Vice or Rear Admiral), I would say it is Admiral's Barge. Don't know dimensions, but the one we carried (CEYLON) was 32 (or 35ft?) FMB (Fast Motor Boat), likewise CinC's Barge carried by SURPRISE.

phill rose
18-10-2015, 17:44
Cheers Scurs, I believe it was the Admiral of the Ports barge in Portsmouth, quite a sleek craft, from the good old days.

BelliniTosi
18-10-2015, 18:03
On the subject of boats, in the second picture, what type would the one under cover in the background be?
Phil,
That could be the CinC's "green parrot", if it is then it's a 45' medium speed picket boat.
John

phill rose
19-10-2015, 14:32
Quite right John, if memory serves me right it was green.

werik
03-11-2015, 15:53
Thanks to the Tal Handaq site for this one.

On the subject of boats, in the second picture, what type would the one under cover in the background be?

Thank you for yet one more period pic of an FMD. This one has a home-made looking windscreen. . . .cabin painted white and a life belt on it as well. I wonder where the pic was taken. They don't look much when at rest ! I will add it to the collection.
'Dragonfly' still for sale ( Boat Trader Mag ). . .I dropped the price a bit. . . .will probably put an ad in Classic Boat next.
Cheers. . . Erik

werik
03-11-2015, 16:04
I just cannot make out the name on the Life belt. . . .is it Caster ? anyone with sharper eyes ?
Erik

phill rose
03-11-2015, 17:07
The picture was taken in Malta, I would have thought in the 50's.

Is it possible the word at the top is Captain?

jbryce1437
03-11-2015, 17:19
The picture was taken in Malta, I would have thought in the 50's.

Is it possible the word at the top is Captain?
Seconded

Jim

phill rose
04-11-2015, 14:22
Wonder what the lower characters are Jim, any thoughts?
Looks like two letters, space, then four or five more.

St. Angelo?

BelliniTosi
23-03-2016, 20:01
Went to York the other week and visited the National Railway Museum and in the area called the Warehouse they have objects that in other museums are usually stored away from the public eye, but at York they out on racks so you can at least see them.
Among this plethora of railway artefacts was a model of a "Skimming Dish".
Why they had it, I don't know but somebody must have give it to them and at least they have it on show.
Sorry about the reflections it was housed inside a perspex case.
John

Crash
24-03-2016, 07:37
Has this one been posted before

Rob Hoole
27-03-2016, 18:21
Screen capture from 'Tiffy' Naval Artificer (1952) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM5kzGSWJIY); a skimming dish on the boat deck of the older carrier HMS Illustrious (87) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Illustrious_%2887%29).

werik
26-08-2016, 09:30
As they say. . . " a lot of water has gone under the bridge" since I last wrote. . a series of family tragedies. . . what a terrible year.
Anyhow. . . I now want to sell " Dragonfly". she is in this month's " Classic Boat ". I would really like to find an appreciative new owner. As you can see in the website, she is of museum , and Admiralty quality. The price is now down to about what it cost over the 7 years, without taking time or labour into consideration. She comes on her trailer and with all specified spares, cabin and instruction/maintenance manuals. I suppose the price will be flexible to a suitable buyer.
see the whole story on. . . http://erikpam.wix.com/rnhistoricspeedboat
our email address is . . . erikpam@me.com
cheers. . . Erik

Rob Hoole
26-08-2016, 10:07
As they say. . . " a lot of water has gone under the bridge" since I last wrote. . a series of family tragedies. . . what a terrible year...
Erik
Hello Erik,

I'm so sorry to hear about your woes, particularly after all the sacrifices you have made to complete your labour of love. I hope you can find a good home for 'Dragonfly' and won't be out of pocket for so much dedicated effort. You certainly deserve a bit of good fortune but I much regret that I'm not in the market.

I saw the skimming dish in No.4 Boathouse in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard on Tuesday and posted an account of my visit here:

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18545

ivorthediver
26-08-2016, 10:15
Thanks for the posting Rob , looks like you had a good time , again our thanks

werik
27-03-2017, 08:51
Well. . .would you believe it. . . 10 years already. It is sobering to reflect on these last few years. I would still like that my 'Dragonfly' should find a new home and continue her life as a unique piece of RN history.
I have been out of touch because in 2015 I had a heart attack. . ( now have 5 stents , but feeling fine ). . then in january 2016 we lost our son to cancer aged just 48. . . shortly after that my wife had the same cancer but, thank God operated on successfully, and just last week given the all-clear.
WE DO need to restart our lives , and are optimistic, now that Spring is here.
I would be grateful if any of you would consider acquiring this little jewel of a vessel. My price has halved and will be around the £20,000 now, including all spares and trailer. or even tell your friends. The website shows all the details. . . http://erikpam.wix.com/rnhistoricspeedboat . She is well stored and ready for action.
you can email or call me any time to discuss it.
Cheers. . . Erik