THE NEW SPANISH ARMORED CRUISER REINA REGENTE.
The new armored cruiser Reina Regente, which has been built and engined by Messrs. James & George Thomson, of Clydebank, for the Spanish government, has recently completed her official speed trials on the Clyde, the results attained being sufficient to justify the statement made on her behalf that she is the fastest war cruiser in the world. She is a vessel of considerable size, the following being her measurements: Length over all, 330 ft., and 307 ft. between perpendiculars; breadth, 50½ ft.; and her draught is 20 ft., giving a displacement of 5,000 tons, which will be increased to 5,600 tons when she is fully equipped.
This vessel belongs to the internally protected type of war cruisers, a type of recent origin, and of which she is the largest example yet built. The internal protection includes an armored deck which consists of steel plates ranging from 3-1/8 in. in thickness in the flat center to 4¾ in. at the sloping sides of the deck. This protective deck covers the "vitals" of the ship, the machinery, boilers, etc. Then there is a very minute subdivision in the hull of the ship, there being, in all, 156 water-tight compartments, 83 of which are between the armored deck and the one immediately above it, or between wind and water. Most of these compartments are used as coal bunkers. Of the remainder of the water-tight compartments, 60 are beneath the armor. Throughout her whole length the Reina Regente has a double bottom, which also extends from side to side of the ship. In order to keep the vessel as free of water as possible, there have been fitted on board four 14 in. centrifugal pumps, all of which are connected to a main pipe running right fore and aft in the ship, and into which branches are received from every compartment.
These pumps are of the "Bon Accord" type, and were supplied by Messrs. Drysdale & Co., Glasgow.
Not being weighted by massive external armor, the Reina Regente is unusually light in proportion to her bulk, and in consequence it has been rendered possible to supply her with engines of extraordinary power. They are of the horizontal triple expansion type, driving twin screws, and placed in separate water-tight compartments. The boilers, four in number, are also in separate compartments. Well above the water line there are two auxiliary boilers, which were supplied by Messrs. Merryweather, London, and are intended for raising steam rapidly in cases of emergency. These boilers are connected with all the auxiliary engines of the ship, numbering no fewer than forty-three.
The engines have been designed to indicate 12,000 horse power, and on the trial, when they were making 110 revolutions per minute, they indicated considerably upward of 11,000 horse power, the bearings all the while keeping wonderfully cool, and the temperature of the engine and boiler rooms being never excessive. The boilers are fitted with a forced draught arrangement giving a pressure of 1 in. of water. In the official run she attained a speed equal to 21 knots (over 24 miles) per hour, and over a period of four hours an average speed of 20.72 knots per hour was developed, without the full power of the engines being attained. The average steam pressure in the boilers was 140 lb. per square inch. In the course of some private trials made by the builders, the consumption of coal was tested, with the result that while the vessel was going at a moderate speed the very low consumption of 14 lb. of coal per indicated horse power per hour was reached. The vessel is capable of steaming 6,000 knots when there is a normal supply of coal in her bunkers, and when they are full there is sufficient to enable her to steam 13,000 knots.
The Reina Regente will be manned by 50 officers and a crew of 350 men, all of whom will have their quarters on the main deck. Among her fittings and equipment there are three steam lifeboats and eight other boats, five of Sir William Thomson's patent compasses, and a complete electric light installation, the latter including two powerful search lights, which are placed on the bridge. All parts of the vessel are in communication by means of speaking tubes. In order to enable the vessel to turn speedily, she is fitted with the sternway rudder of Messrs. Thomson & Biles. This contrivance is a combination of a partially balanced rudder with a rudder formed as a continuation of the after lines of a ship. The partial balance tends to reduce the strains on the steering gear, and thereby enables the rudder area to be increased without unduly straining the gear.
When fitted out for actual service, this novel war cruiser will have a most formidable armament, consisting of four 24 centimeter Hontorio guns (each of 21 tons), six 12 centimeter guns (also of the Hontorio type), six 6 pounder Nordenfelt guns, fourteen small guns, and five torpedo tubes - one at the stern, two amidships, and two at the bow of the ship.
It is worthy of note that this war cruiser was constructed in fifteen months, or three months under the stipulated contract time; in fact, the official trial of the vessel took place exactly eighteen months from the signing of the contract. Not only is this the fastest war cruiser afloat, but her owners also possess in the El Destructor what is probably the simplest torpedo catcher afloat, a vessel which has attained a speed of 22½ knots, or over 26 miles, per hour. - Engineering.