By John Hills

This lifeboat was brought from the U.S. Coastguards in 1964 and the pictures below show her in her original American colours. On doing a little research I found the boats original USCG No. was 44328 and that Sid Hills was her coxwain when these pictures were taken.

I believe since then she has under gone a number of refits and is now a static exhibit with the Lifeboat Collection at Chatham Dockyard in Kent.

Do any of you lifeboat experts out there know anything more about her history.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'VISITING LIFEBOAT 1964' page

M. W. Hills

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'VISITING LIFEBOAT 1964' page

M. W. Hills

Photo:Rarity Andy asked for

Rarity Andy asked for

From private collection M. W. Hills

This page was added by John Hills on 23/07/2008.
Comments about this page

This American Coastguard Cutter design was to be the basis of the Waveney class lifeboats, of which our own Louis Marchesi was one. I guess the RNLI were testing the viability of the design for use over here.

Interesting background. Work still going on around the linkspan, and Falaise in her original 1964 livery. Did you pan right and snap Falaise as well - that would be another rarity.

By Andy Gilbert
On 24/07/2008

The 'Yank' as she was affectionately known as was actually given as a gift by the US Coastguard to the RNLI, who then proceeded to take her around the coast of Britain on trial to see what kind of reaction it would have with crews and how it would cope with the various local conditions around the coast.

Apparently on its way into Newhaven on its first visit it picked up a lobster pot line around one prop and had to be escorted by the Newhaven lifeboat Kathleen Mary!

Over the years as a relief lifeboat it visited Newhaven many times and was on station in relief for a number of months whilst our 44 - the Louis Marchesi of Round Table - was being refitted.

She can claim a number of firsts. She was the first lifeboat to be fully self righting based on her hull and cabin design, previous boats either had a scoop arrangement or an inflatable bag. She was the first lifeboat to have a coxswain's chair - the original was in the Newhaven crew room for a number of years after being replaced at Cantells. My father, Len the Coxswain would always comment on how many bums had sat on it - previous boats had a 'saddle' for the helmsman to squat on.

She never became a British registered vessel (something to do with tax I believe) so we made a point of flying the Stars & Stripes from her masthead whilst she was on station. Always a good conversation starter (and the source of some gifted American whisky).

Newhaven Lifeboat had to escort her into harbour on at least 3 occasions due to potlines or engine/gearbox trouble which prompted the question 'did we get to keep her after the 3rd 'rescue'! She was built with a single bottom hull whereas all RNLI boats had double hulls to prevent flooding in the event of grounding, which made her a little lighter and therefore more lively - 44's would roll on wet grass!

She now has pride of place at the lifeboat museum at Chatham as the RNLI's first Fast Afloat Boat and the forerunner to all the current designs including Newhaven's Severn Class.

Thanks for this Rob - Jackie (Editor)

By Rob Patten
On 31/07/2008

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