Newson’s new building had its official opening a few days ago. After a morning of rain and high winds, the weather broke and the ceremony performed by Lady Anne Wake-Walker took place in brilliant sunshine.
With the ribbon cut, MTB 102 was winched into the building before an appreciative crowd of on-lookers who were then given the chance to look around the new building and the boats. http://www.newson.co.uk/news/2006-12/official-opening/
For more on MTB 102, see this site: http://www.mtb102.com/ and check the Wikipedia for more on MTBs generally http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_torpedo_boat
On the subject of Newson’s, I was struck by a handsome varnish job on an Italian speedboat built in 1966 at the Bruno Abbate yard on Lake Como, Italy. The boat, which has undergone a total refurbishment, has a 144hp American-built Ford V8 Interceptor engine. See http://www.newson.co.uk/boat/abbate-villa-deste-1966/
If you haven’t visited before, the National Register of Historic Ships is a real find, and is enough to keep any hardened boat nut busy for hours.
Rania was built in 1937 by the Rampart Boat Building works in Southampton. Just before delivery in 1939, however, she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, when many small British craft sailed across the Channel to rescue the British Expeditionary Force – and army of 400,000 or so.
This astonishing exercise took place in perfect millpond conditions (see the images of this event at the Rania site, and see Wikipedia for more on the fighting and evacuation). She continued to serve in the ‘Mosquito navy’ for the duration of the war.
She is now in real need of help. Rania has been dismantled and is in urgent need of repair; she has been saved by the Dunkirk Little Ship Restoration Trust but unfortunately the funds are not available – nevertheless her supporters wish to restore her to her original condition and return her to Dunkirk in 2010 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuations.
For more on Rania, and some very evocative music: