In our present issue, on page 9948, we give illustrations of two torpedo boats, the Azor and Halcon, which have lately been constructed by Messrs Yarrow & Co., of Poplar, for the Spanish government. They are 135 ft. in length by 14 ft. beam, being of the same dimensions as No. 80 torpedo boat, lately completed by the above firm for the Admiralty, which is the largest and fastest torpedo-boat in the British navy.
TORPEDO BOATS FOR THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT.
The general arrangement of these torpedo boats is sufficiently clear from the illustrations to need but little description. Suffice it to say that the engines are of the triple compound type, capable of indicating 1,550 horse power, steam being supplied by one large locomotive boiler, which our readers are already aware is in accordance with the usual practice of the makers, as, by using a single boiler, great simplification of the machinery takes place, and considerably less room is occupied than if two boilers were adopted. It is worthy of record that although in some torpedo boats, and indeed in a great number of them, trouble has been found with the locomotive type of boiler, still we have no hesitation in saying that this is due either to defective design or bad workmanship, and that, if properly designed and constructed, such difficulty does not occur. And it is a fact that Messrs. Yarrow & Co. have already constructed a great number of locomotive boilers of the exceptional size adopted in these two Spanish boats, and they have turned out in every respect, after actual service, perfectly satisfactory.
The forward part of the boat is provided with two torpedo-ejecting tubes, as usual, and near the stern, on deck, it is proposed to place turntables, with two torpedo guns for firing over the sides, as already adopted by several governments. The trials of the Azor took place about two months since, giving a speed during a run of two hours and three quarters, carrying a load of 17 tons, of 24 knots (over 27½ miles) per hour. Since her trial she has steamed out to Spain, having encountered, during a portion of the voyage very bad weather, when her sea going qualities were found to be admirable.
The Halcon, whose official trials took place lately, obtained a speed of 23.5 knots, carrying a load of 17 tons. It may be remarked that a speed of 24 knots, in a boat only 135 ft in length, under the Spanish conditions of trial, is by far the best result that has ever been obtained in a vessel of these dimensions There is, however, no doubt that had the length of the boat been greater, a still higher speed would have been obtained But it was desired by the authorities to keep within the smallest possible dimensions, so as to expose as little area as practicable to the fire of the enemy, it being clearly evident that this is a consideration of the first importance in an unprotected war vessel.
In conclusion, we would add that the hulls of these two Spanish boats are of much greater strength of construction than is usually adopted in torpedo boats, it having been found that for the sake of obtaining exceptional speeds, strength sufficient for actual service has often been injudiciously sacrificed And, judging from the numerous accidents which took place at the recent trials off Portland, we have no doubt that in the future naval authorities will be quite ready and willing to sacrifice a little speed so as to obtain vessels which are more trustworthy. The necessity for this, we feel convinced, will be conclusively shown if ever torpedo boats are engaged in actual warfare, and this not only as regards strength of hull, but also as regards the machinery, which at present is only capable of being handled successfully by men of exceptional training, who in times of war would not be readily procured - The Engineer.