Among the different classes of vessels designed for special services, constructed by Messrs. Yarrow & Co., at Poplar, for the British government, is one which is stated to be the fastest torpedo boat in her majesty's navy. This boat has been put through its official trials; with a load of 15 tons, running continuously for two hours without stopping, a speed of 23 knots, which is equal to 26½ statute miles, an hour was obtained. The boat is 135 ft. long by 14 ft. beam. Its design is known as the Falke type, being in many respects similar, but very superior, to a torpedo boat of that name which was built two years ago by the same firm for the Austrian government. The form of the hull is of such a character as to give exceptional steering capabilities; at the time of trial it was found to be able to steer round in a circle of a diameter of 100 yards, averaging 62 seconds. The forward part of the boat is completely covered over by a large turtle back, which is the customary form of the boats built by Messrs. Yarrow & Co. It was first introduced in the Batoum, which they constructed eight years ago for the Russian government. This turtle back increases the seaworthiness of the craft by throwing the water that comes upon it freely away.
It forms, also, good and roomy accommodation for the crew, and incloses a large portion of the torpedo apparatus. The forward torpedo gear consists of one torpedo gun, adapted for ejecting the Whitehead torpedo by means of gunpowder, now preferred on account of its simplicity. The boiler, one of Messrs. Yarrow & Co.'s special construction, of a type which has undergone many years of constant trial, is capable of developing 1,660 horse power. In the engine room there are six engines--one for driving the boat, two for compressing the air for the torpedoes, an engine for working the dynamo for producing the electric light, an engine for forcing air into the stoke-hole, and an engine working in conjunction with the distilling apparatus for supplying drinking water for the crew and the waste incidental to the boiler. Aft of the engine room come the officers' quarters. The stern of the boat is fitted up as a pantry and for the stowage of ammunition and stores. On the deck are mounted three machine guns, and near the stern an additional conning tower for use in case of need, around which revolve two torpedo guns for firing the torpedoes off either side. These torpedo guns can be trained to any angle it may be desired to fire them at.
Illustrated London News.
THE "FALKE" TYPE TORPEDO BOAT, AND SECTION SHOWING GENERAL ARRANGEMENT.