FerriesHoverlloydHoverspeedPast and Present

HSC Sure (GH-2005), Past and Present

HSC Sure (GH 2005)

Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

“Mountbatten” (SRN4) Mk I Hovercraft built in 1969 by British Hovercraft Corporation, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, England (Yard No 003) for Hoverlloyd Ltd., Ramsgate, England

Technical Data

  • Length: 130.2 ft (39.68m) overall 56.40 m (1969)
  • Beam: 78 ft (23.77m) overall (1969)
  • Height on landing pads: 37.8 ft (11.48m) overall
  • Passenger/vehicle floor area: 5,800 sq. ft.(539 sq. m.)
  • Vehicle deck headroom: 11.6 ft (3.51m)
  • Bow door (height x width): 11.6 ft x 18 ft (3.51m x 5.48m)
  • Stern door (height x width): 11.6 ft x 31 ft (3.51m x 9.45m)
  • Skirt length: 8 ft (2.44m)
  • Main Engines: 4 Rolls Royce ‘Marine Proteus’ gas turbines (1969). Max. continuous rating at 15 degrees Cent – 3,400 shp (3447 c.v.) each (1969))
  • Auxiliary power units: 2 Rover 1S/90 gas turbines (55KVA each)
  • Propellers: 4 Hawker Siddeley Dynamics 4 blade variable-pitch propellers with a 19 ft diameter (5.79m)
  • Lift Fans: 4 BHC, 12 blade, centrifugal, 11.6 ft diameter (3.5m)
  • Fuel capacity: 4,500 Imp Gall (20.456 litres)
  • Tonnage: 168 tons (170.7 tonnes) (1969), 300 (1973 -74)
  • Max speed over calm water: 60-65 knots (111-120 km./hr.)
  • Average service speed: 40-50 knots (74-93 km./hr)
  • Stopping distance from 50 knots: 700 yards (640m)
  • Range: at 10 tons fuel, 40-50 knots – 100-125 n.m. (185-230km.)
  • Range: at 16 tons fuel, 40-50 knots – 160-200 n.m. (300-370 km.)
  • Capacity: 254 passengers, 30 cars (1969).282 passengers, 37 cars ( 1973 – 74)
  • Sister Vessels: Swift, Prince of Wales, Sir Christopher


June 1969: Delivered to Hoverlloyd Ltd, Ramsgate, England.

June 3rd 1969: Christened by Mrs Soammes, wife of the British Ambassador to Paris.

June 1969: Inaugural crossing Ramsgate – Calais.

Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

November 29th 1969: Both SWIFT and SURE are grounded after a propeller flies from one of the Ramsgate craft causing some £50,000 of damage to the Pegwell Bay Hoverport.

Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

October 7th 1970: Chartered for a special trip from London (Tower Pier) to Tilbury.

1973-4: Hoverlloyd’s three craft individually upgraded to Mk II specifications, widening of passenger area and car deck to make full use of available space.

🆕November 15th 1978: “On a journey from Ramsgate to Calais was hit by a large wave on the starboard bow/side. Appeared undamaged and continued. Upon arrival in Calais a careful examination of the craft showed no apparent damage. On the return journey and in deteriorating weather, with winds of 30 knots Force 8, had to “shut down” the two starboard engines because of serious over-heating. With speed reduced to 5 knots a decision was made to continue heading for the Kent coast. With worsening weather her track was moving steadily east and if extrapolated further she was like to miss North Foreland altogether. A Dover tug was put on standby. The craft’s Captain then made a decision not to attempt a landing at Pegwell, but to land in Joss Bay, the first beach to the North of North Foreland. At Ramsgate, her fleet sister PRINCE OF WALES was rapidly crewed up to arrange a quick transfer of passengers and cars on the beach at Joss Bay.”.
“After arrival at Joss Bay the crew’s of both craft began the transfer. The damage to the starboard quarter of SURE was extreme. Structurally, the whole outer skirt hinge line, and with it the skirt assembly, was missing underneath the starboard no. 1 engine space, from forward of the ships galley on the side, around to just below the rear engine. More seriously, what had disappeared with the accompanying structure was the installation of the four oil coolers, hence the over-heating of the two starboard engines.”.
“Engineers replaced the missing oil coolers, but not the skirt and SURE then set of for Pegwell Bay. The weather had by no means abated. With winds increasing to Force 10, she made poor progress. The pilot made the decision not continue nor return to Joss Bay, but to attempt a landing at Viking Bay. Successfully she landed and sheltered overnight.”.


November 16th 1978: Arrived at Pegwell Bay for repairs.

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

October 25th 1981: Registered to Hoverspeed Ltd., Dover, England. Commenced service between Dover – Calais/ Boulogne.

Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

1983: Broken up “for spares” at Pegwell Bay.

Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

1987: Scrapping completed.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Ken Larwood, Nicolas Lévy and Stéphane Poulain for their assistance in compiling this feature.

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

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