In our SUPPLEMENT, No. 620 we gave an illustration of this ship, with some particulars. The interest expressed in naval circles for further information induces us to give still further engravings of this remarkable vessel, with additional information, for which we are indebted to the Engineer.
THE NEW SPANISH WAR SHIP REINA REGENTE.
We gave recently a short account of two of the trials of this vessel, and we are, by the courtesy of the builders - Messrs. Thomson, of Clydebank - enabled to lay further particulars before our readers this week. We give herewith engravings of the vessel, which will illustrate her salient points. The principal dimensions are as follows.
Length on water line, 317 ft., breadth, 50 ft. 7 in., depth moulded, 32 ft. 6 in., normal displacement, 4,800 tons, deep load displacement, 5,600* tons. We have before informed our readers that this vessel was designed by Messrs. Thomson, in competition with several other shipbuilding firms of this and other countries, in reply to an invitation of the Spanish government for a cruiser of the first class. The design submitted by the builders of the Reina Regente was accepted, and the vessel was contracted to be built in June of last year. The principal conditions of the contract were as follows.
The ship to steam at a speed of 20½ knots for four runs on the mile and for two hours continuously afterward. She was further to be capable of steaming for six hours continuously at a speed of 18½ knots, without any artificial means of producing draught. She was also to be capable of steaming a distance of at least 5,700 knots for 500 tons of coal, at some speed over 10 knots, to be chosen by the builders. Over the length of her machinery and magazine spaces she was to have a sloping deck extending to 6 ft. below the water line at the side, and formed of plates 4¾ in. thick. This deck was to extend to about 1 ft. above the water line, and the flat part to be 3-1/8 in. thick. Beyond the machinery and magazine spaces, the deck was to be gradually reduced to 3 in. thick at the ends. This deck is intended to protect the vitals of the ship, such as boilers, engines, powder magazines, steering gear, etc., from the effects of shot and shell, but the floating and stability maintaining power of the ship was to be dependent upon a similar structure raised above this protective deck to a height of about 5 ft. above the water.
This structure is covered by a water tight deck known as the main deck of the ship, on which the cabins and living spaces are arranged. The space between the main and protective deck is divided, as may be seen by reference to the protective deck plan, into many strong, water tight spaces, most of which are not more than about 500 cubic feet capacity. The spaces next to the ship's side are principally coal bunkers, and may, therefore, exclude largely any water that should enter. The first line of defense is formed inside these coal bunkers by a complete girdle of coffer dams, which can be worked from the main deck. These it is intended to fill with water and cellulose material, and as they are also minutely subdivided, the effects of damage by shot and consequent flooding may be localized to a considerable extent. The guns of the ship are to consist of four 20 centimeter Hontorio breech loading guns on Vavasseur carriages, six 12 centimeter guns, eight 6 pounder rapid firing, and eight or ten small guns for boats and mitrailleuse purposes, four of which are in the crow's nests at the top of the two masts of the ship.
We may remark in passing that the builders saw their way at an early period of the construction to suggest an addition to the weight of the large sized guns, and there will actually be on the ship four 24 centimeter guns, instead of four 20 centimeter. The vessel was to carry five torpedo tubes, two forward in the bow, one in each broadside, and one aft. All these tubes to be fixed. To fulfill the speed condition, four boilers were necessary and two sets of triple expansion engines, capable of developing in all 12,000 horse power.
PROTECTIVE DECK PLAN.
Now that the vessel has been completely tried, the promises by the builders may be compared with the results determined by the commission of Spanish officers appointed by the government of Spain to say whether the vessel fulfilled in all respects the conditions laid down in the contract. The mean speed attained for the two hours' run was 20.6 knots, as compared with 20.5 guaranteed, but this speed was obtained with 11,500 horse power instead of the 12,000 which the machinery is capable of developing. The officers of the Spanish commission were anxious not to have the vessel's machinery pressed beyond what was necessary to fulfill the speed conditions of the contract; but they saw enough to warrant them in expressing their belief that the vessel can easily do twenty-one knots when required, and she actually did this for some time during the trial.
During the natural draught trial the vessel obtained a mean speed of 18.68 knots, on an average of 94¾ revolutions - the forced draught having been done on an average of 105½ revolutions. The consumption trial, which lasted twelve hours, was made to determine the radius of action, when the ship showed that at a speed of 11.6 knots she could steam a distance of 5,900 knots. Further trials took place to test the evolutionary powers of the vessel, though these trials were not specified in the contract.
The vessel, as may be seen from the engravings, is fitted with a rudder of a new type, known as Thomson & Biles' rudder, with which it is claimed that all the advantage of a balanced rudder is obtained, while the ship loses the length due to the adoption of such a rudder. It is formed in the shape of the hull of the vessel, and as the partial balance of the lower foreside gradually reduces the strains, the rudder head may be made of very great service. As a matter of fact, this rudder is 230 ft. in area, and is probably the largest rudder fitted to a warship. The efficiency of it was shown in the turning trials, by its being able to bring the vessel round, when going at about nineteen knots, in half a circle in one minute twenty-three seconds, and a complete circle in two minutes fifty-eight seconds, the diameter of the circle being 350 yards. This result, we believe, is unrivaled, and makes this vessel equal in turning capabilities to many recent warships not much more than half her length.