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By H.F. King

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By H.F. King

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There is negligible doubt that this was the boat described by one who saw her in the Saunders yard at Goring-on-Thames as being 33 ft long by 8 ft beam and having a bottom sloped up at the forward end. A sketch showed that there were two sidewalls (to use current terminology) together with a centre 'wall', and spaced between these were fourteen smaller walls (plates, fins or fences), all these extending the full length of the hull. Through the bottom of the boat between the 'plates' were a number of holes, slanted aft, and these were to be connected with 'an air compressor, fan or reservoir driven by a motor engine'.

In a vessel in which the support is due to air in a hollow, the centre of pressure must coincide with the centre of gravity of the area of the hollow. It is much more advantageous to have such a definite centre of support than the ever-shifting position ofthe centre of the lifting force due to contact with the water surface. The practical difficulties, however, to be overcome in producing a type embodying this principle are many. Care must be taken, for instance, to avoid disturbing the water surface by the surfaces which must surround the hollow containing the air.

A Serpollet steam engine with flash boiler drove an air propeller. With petrol engines and water screws this form of craft was to be continuously developed until after the First World War. When I come to deal with air lubrication I shall refer to Mr W. H. Fauber's scheme for inducing air under his multi-stepped hydroplanes. But this appears to have been less important to him than his particular system of stepping; and that he was considered a leading authority on stepped hydroplanes is clearly evident from early motor-boating literature.

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Aeromarine Origins by H.F. King


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