FerriesHoverlloydHoverspeedPast and Present

HSC Sure (GH- 9001/GH – 2031) – Past and Present

GH -2031

HSC Beasac III (GH -2031)

ex Sure (GH- 9001)

Nicolas Lévy Collection

Sure – Nicolas Lévy Collection

“Winchester Class” (SRN.6) Mk I Hovercraft built in 1966 by British Hovercraft Corporation, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, England (025) for Hoverlloyd Ltd., Ramsgate, England 

Technical Data

  • Length: 14.80m (overall)(1966), 17.80m (1972)
  • Beam: 7.70m (overall)
  • Height: 3.80m (overall on landing pads)
  • Skirt Depth: 1.22m
  • Cabin Size: 6.62m (length), 2.34m (breadth)
  • Cabin headroom: 1.83m (@ centre line)
  • Weight: 10 tons
  • Engines: Rolls Royce Marine “Gnome” gas turbine
  • Power: 900 shp
  • Speed: 52 knots (over calm water), 30 – 35 knots (average service)
  • Capacity: 38 passengers or 3 tonnes of freight


“The Saunders-Roe SR.N6 (also known as the Winchester class) is a medium-sized hovercraft primarily designed for passenger service”.

Nicolas Lévy Collection Nicolas Lévy Collection

Sure – Nicolas Lévy Collection

March 1966: Launched for Hoverlloyd and named SURE.

April 6th 1966: Inaugural service between Ramsgate -Calais.

April 25th 1966: Carried President de Gaulle.

April 30th 1966: Full service between Ramsgate Harbour – Calais.

Nicolas Lévy Collection Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Sure – Nicolas Lévy Collection (all)

1967 (Spring): Two month trial period to determine “skirt wear”. The craft was then returned to British Hovercraft Corporation who chartered her to Hovertravel for use between Ryde – Southsea.

June 25th 1962: Whilst returning to British Hovercraft Corporation at East Cowes for maintenance collided with SR.N6 130. Minor damage to the bow.

1968: Sold to Pacific Hovercraft, Canada.

February 23rd 1969: Commenced service between Vancover – Nanaimo (Vancouver Island) service.

BC History YouTube Channel

1969: Service ceased and she was put to work on a seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea

September 1971: Pacific Hovercraft went into receivership and she was taken over by Northern Transportation.

January 1972: Returned to British Hovercraft Corporation who stretched and converted her to the designated name of SR.N6 Mk 6 “Twin Prop” or “Super 6”. Work done included lengthening, sides modified, tail unit modifications and single propeller replaced by twin propeller.

1973: Various trials and demonstrations together with evaluation by Inter-services Hovercraft Trials Unit (IHTU).

December 1974 – January 1975: Evaluation by Naval Trials Unit (NHTU)

May 13th 1976: Travelled under her own power to Amsterdam.

May 22nd 1976: Returned to Cowes.

August 1976: The upgraded Gnome engine was replaced by a standard one and she was used by Solent Seaspeed and Hovertravel on Cowes – Southampton service. She then continued as a demonstrator.

November 15th 1973: Carried Premier Wang Chen of China, on the River Thames, from Parliament

November 1981: At Portland carried out mine counter-measures trial then continued as British Hovercraft Corporations demonstrator.

1989: Having been converted by Hoverwork and Air Vehicles for use on hydro graphic surveys, sold to Eurosense-Belfatop, Belgium to carry out Benelux Government surveys of their coast from bases in Zeebrugge. She was renamed BEASAC III.

2002: Retired.

November 1st 2004: Flew from Belgium via Dunkerque and Dover to the Hovercraft Museum, Lee-on-Solent. Became the last ever gas turbine Hovercraft to cross the English Channel.

© "The Ferryman" © "The Ferryman"  

Beasac III – © “The Ferryman” (both)

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to thank: “The Ferryman”, Mike Jackson and Nicolas Lévy for their assistance in producing this feature. 

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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