(From the United Service Gazette.)
One of the most important, and said to be very successful, trials, in screw propelling, took place on Tuesday last at Portsmouth, namely, that of the second steam guard ship the Ajax, converted by Mr. Fincham, Master Shipwright of Portsmouth Dockyard, with engines of 450-horse power, by Maudslay, Field, and Co. With Rear-Admiral Superintendent Prescott, C.B., Captain Chads, C.B , Messrs. Maudslay and Field, and a large number of Naval Officers and scientific gentlemen. The Ajax, in charge of Commander Stevens of the Blenheim, and manned by the crew of that ship, on going out of Portsmouth harbour, at 10-30 a.m., made good way against a strong flood tide, using steam at a light pressure ; and after rounding the Spit buoy, put on more steam, and ran down to Stokes Bay at a good pace, and here, at the measured mile, the series of trials took place, and are thus reported :-.
As at her last trial, the Ajax had only her bare lower masts and bowsprit in, but she had also 560 tons of ballast as an equivalent to the weight of her ordnance and sea stores, and was supposed to be immersed in the water to her load-line.
The results of her trial have been most splendid, and indeed her performances were altogether most satisfactory. The engines, we understand, with the exception of a slight tendency to hot bearings, worked admirably ; there was no priming, as heretofore. The ship steered as easily as a jolly boat ; there was but little ebullition of water abaft, neither did the water rise much in the well of the screw. The results, (which we give,) will now prove that this vessel is equal to the Blenheim, though the cost of converting these two sailing ships into steam ships bear no proportion.
Draft of water aft, 22 ft. 3 in. ; ditto, forward, 20 ft. 4½ in ; about nine inches less than the Blenheim.
|Strokes per minute
||Time per mile
||1st . . . . 8
||25 . . 7.128
||2nd . . 10
||40 . . 5.625
||3rd. . . 12
||30 . . 4.800
||4th. . . . 7
||26 . . 8.071
||5th. . . 12
||16 . . 4.891
||Total mean of 5 runs
Barometer 26 deg. 30 min ;
Pressure . . . . . 5 lbs. 8 oz.
The average speed of the Blenheim is, we understand, 6.500; therefore there is scarcely any difference in the speed of the Blenheim and Ajax.
At abut three p.m., the Ajax set a temporary forestay-sail, and returned into harbour against the full force of a strong ebb tide. When at the narrows, between Blockhouse point and the Custom-house watch-house, she remained stationary for some time, neither going a-head nor retrograding ; the tide was running at this point like a sluice, and the stokers having let the fires get low, she decreased her screw revolutions, but she at length got through, and proceeded to her moorings.
When in Stokes Bay, she was honoured by a visit from His Royal Highness Prince Albert. As the day was fine, the Prince, attended by Major General Weymss, was taking a short cruise in the Fairy yacht in the waters of the Solent, and having expressed a wish to see the Ajax, Captain Crispin ran the Fairy down to her, lowered the barge, and conveyed his Royal Highness on board ; he was received by Admiral Prescott and Captain Chads ; he remained on board about an hour, during which time the Ajax was running the measured mile ; he visited the engine-room, and made many inquiries into the minutia of the machinery, and went round the decks and inquired into the nature of her intended armament. On the Prince quitting the ship, the crew voluntarily cheered him, which the Prince repeatedly acknowledged.
SG & SGTL Vol 6. p 109
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