P164 HMS Explorer Fast Training Boat and HMS Wasp, Dover Marina, Kent, UK

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John Latter on April 21, 2011

HMS Explorer, pennant number 164 (1), is an Archer-class patrol and training vessel in service with the British Royal Navy (RN). The Archer-class are commonly referred to as Fast Training Boats.

P164 HMS Explorer (ex-A154 XSV Explorer), along with P165 HMS Example (ex-A153 XSV Example) and P275 HMS Raider, also Archer-class, arrived in Dover Harbour on Monday, 18th of April, 2011; the mini-flotilla left the following morning.

The patrol boat is shown moored among yachts and boats in the Tidal Harbour of Dover Marina with a tiny sliver of the red-bricked wall of Dolphin Jetty, or Dolphin Hard Jetty, showing behind the piles of the floating pontoons on the left.

Part of the bridge and stern of HMS Example can be seen behind and to the right of HMS Explorer, and HMS Raider is out-of-shot to the right astern of Dover's lifeboat, the RNLB 17-09 City of London II: so where is HMS Wasp?

The large cream-coloured Victorian building on the right is a Grade II Listed Building called Lord Warden House, home to sundry Freight Agents.

Previously, it was the Lord Warden Hotel and during the Second World War the hotel was taken over by the Royal Navy, becoming known as HMS Wasp. It was the headquarters for the Coastal Force, made up of motor torpedo boats, motor gun boats and air-sea rescue craft. This was where the crews were billeted and the signal section, plotting rooms and offices were located (© Crown Copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence: PSI licence number C2010002016; Source: English Heritage).

See the Lord Warden House, Victorian Hotel, WWII HMS Wasp Shore Station and Lord Warden House at Daybreak, St Martin`s Battery, Western Heights photos for more information (a shore establishment is oftern known as a 'stone frigate').

The above photo of HMS Explorer was taken at 6.24 pm from the floating pontoon below Dover Lifeboat Station on Crosswall Quay. An individual photo of HMS Example has already been uploaded; a photo of HMS Raider and a 'group shot' will be uploaded at a later date - see subsequent comments for the links.

This is the second vessel to carry this name: the first HMS Explorer was an experimental British submarine based on the captured German high test peroxide (HTP) powered U-boat, U-1407. The submarine was launched in 1954, scrapped in 1962.

HMS Explorer: Introduction (2)

HMS Explorer is an Archer-class P2000-type patrol and training vessel of the British Royal Navy. Explorer was originally built for the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service as one of the 'Example Batch', which were identical to the Archer Class being built simultaneously for the Royal Navy. Explorer and her sisters were transferred to the Royal Navy when the RNXS disbanded in 1994.

HMS Explorer is assigned to the Yorkshire Universities Royal Naval Unit (4), serving York University, Hull University, Sheffield University, and Leeds University. The commanding officer is Lieutenant Jonathan Bannister.

1st Patrol Boat Squadron (1PBS) (2)

HMS Explorer is part of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron (alt. First Patrol Boat Squadron). 1PBS is commanded by Commander 1PBS, who is also Commander URNU. The mission statement of the 1PBS is to "provide support to allow the conduct of safe and effective P2000 operations in support of the URNU sea-training syllabus".

Also see the Royal Navy's HMS Explorer (Yorkshire) webpage and HMS Explorer on Facebook.

HMS Explorer details (2):

Name: HMS Explorer

Operator: Royal Navy

Builder: Watercraft, Shoreham By Sea (or Vosper Thornycroft/VT Group)

Launched: 1986

Christened: XSV Explorer

Status: in active service, as of 2011

Class and type: Archer class patrol vessel

Displacement: 49 tons

Length: 20.8 m (68 ft 3 in)

Beam: 5.8 m (19 ft)

Draught: 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)

Propulsion: 2 shafts, Rolls Royce M800T diesels, 1,590 bhp

Speed: 18 knots

Range: 550 nmi (1,020 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)

Complement: 5 (RN), 1 training officer (RNR), 12 students (URNU) or 12 (RN)

Sensors and processing systems: Decca 1216 navigation radar

Armament: 3 × 7.62 mm L7 GPMG (Cyprus Squadron.) (can be fitted with 20 mm cannon on fo'c'sle/forecastle)

(1) In the modern Royal Navy, and other navies of Europe and the Commonwealth, ships are identified by pennant numbers (sometimes referred to as pendant numbers). The name pennant number arises from the fact that ships were originally allocated a pennant (flag) identifying a flotilla or particular type of vessel: for example, in the Royal Navy, the red burgee for torpedo boats, H for torpedo boat destroyers. By the addition of a number to the identifying pennant, each ship could be uniquely identified. A pennant number thus consists of letters and numbers. Where a letter precedes a number it is known as a flag superior and where it is a suffix it is known as a flag inferior. Not all pennants have a flag superior.

(2) Wikipedia entry for HMS Explorer

(3) A University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) is a Royal Navy training establishment connected to a university, or a number of universities concentrated in one area. There are 14 URNUs nationwide in the UK, and each URNU has land-based facilities near the university in question, up to four training officers (members of the Royal Naval Reserve) and a dedicated training vessel (an Archer-class P2000 fast patrol boat).

Click to see all Navy and Boat photos (related tags: Cruise Ship, Ferries, Lifeboats, Sailing Ships, Ships, Tugs, and Workboats).

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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John Latter on March 29, 2013

Warship data: Call Sign: GABB, IMO: 0, MMSI: 235009910

When in range of AIS, the vessel's current position is shown at:

HMS Explorer

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and AIS Base stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 20, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/04/18 18:24:21
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash