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Pushing the boat out

The Port of Tyne launched a brand new pilot boat 5th August followed by a Champagne Reception at Newcastle Quayside. The new boat was christened 'Collingwood' by Mrs Susan Collingwood-Cameron, a direct descendent of Lord Admiral Collingwood. Mrs Collingwood-Cameron said “I am delighted to have been asked to launch the Collingwood. It is a special honour”.

Naming a new boat is always a tricky project with everyone having their own preferred names so the Port of Tyne decided to invite local school children as well as children of port employees to name the boat with an explanation as to their choice. There was a fantastic response to the children's competition with over 250 entries and some really imaginative suggestions, such as Little Neptune – Erin age 8 said “Even if he is a little boat he is still King of the Tyne”, Hadrian's Endeavour – Alex age 71/2 “Because he worked really hard to build his wall”, and The Kraken – Aaron age 9 said “He's the beast of the water”. In spite of the judging being extremely difficult, Brian Reeve, Marine and Technical Director said “All the judges felt that Collingwood, after Admiral Lord Collingwood, was a great name, not only was he born in Newcastle but he led the command and victory in the Battle of Trafalgar”.

The new 16m aluminium pilot cutter, which is the first example in the UK of a mainstream aluminium pilot boat, was designed and built by Pembroke Dock based Mustang Marine, although around the world there are a large number of Port Authorities that have been operating Camarc designed aluminium pilot boats for a great number of years including the Dutch Pilots and New York Pilots.

Camarc-designed pilot boats share the same general type of hull, whether constructed of steel, aluminium or GRP (glass reinforced plastic), the sharply angled hull gives a finer entry than conventional designs whilst retaining the roll stability, the combined result is a fast vessel with an excellent ability to manoeuvre at sea, which is vital for the role that pilot boats play in boarding and landing pilots in all weather conditions.

The Port of Tyne's investment of over £750k means that the vessel has been designed with durability in mind, the hull, deck and superstructure are fabricated throughout using marine grade aluminium alloy, the central helm position is arranged with all controls, instrumentation and navcomms ergonomically close to hand. The coxswain and boatman both enjoy suspension seats, three of which are also fitted for pilots. Aft are settees fitted with three seats to starboard and four to port, all fitted with lap belts. Collingwood is also fitted with radar, satellite compass, GPS sensor, AIS (automated identification system) a digital network echosounder and two sailor 5022 VHF DSC radios. Powered by Scania engines, the boat has a top speed at sea of 22 knots.

Mrs Collingwood-Cameron will 'push the boat out' in the time-honoured manner of smashing champagne against the bow followed by a prayer from Paul Shone Superintendent of the Fisherman's Mission to protect all that sail in her. Afterwards, there is a reception at the Pitcher & Piano for all that have either been involved or work closely with the pilot cutters including duty Coxswain Paul Davies and Boatman John Compton.

Mike Nicholson Harbour Master added that “Since taking delivery of the boat at the beginning of July, we have put it though sea trials during an intensive training programme. Collingwood will complement our two existing pilot boats and survey launch to become the preferred all weather vessel”.

Operational Note to Editors

The Port of Tyne is a key player in the Tyne & Wear region; a dynamic trading hub with five business sectors comprising: conventional cargoes; supply chain services (container handling, warehousing, distribution, rail services); car terminals (Nissan and VW Group); International Passenger Terminal (cruise and ferries); and estates (68 commercial and manufacturing tenants, owner of 600 acres on the north and south side of the river Tyne).

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