Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Atomic 4 For a Spy Boat

In my last Mainsheet column  I mentioned an article in the December 2013 WoodenBoat Magazine titled "A Trumpy Fit for James Bond" by Dirk A.D. Smith.  I have permission from the author and the magazine to reproduce a few pictures and quote the article. I highly recommend WoodenBoat to anyone who loves boats . You can subscribe or get digital versions of the magazine at their website, reachable by clicking the logo below.

The article describes the development of a CIA-sponsored clandestine operations craft. The requirement was a 50 mile range, very low observability, and the ability to be submerged for a month and return with its small crew.  The author's father, Dawson C. Smith directed the project, and the boat was built at John Trumpy and Sons in Annapolis in 1953. The topsides can be seen below. The pilot could see through bubble, required because the boat ran right at the surface and was very wet. What really interested me was the prime mover, an Atomic 4. It was housed in a watertight shell which can be seen below. This shell could be sealed when the team reached its destination,  and the boat sunk below the surface.

Because of its low freeboard the craft had to be "flown" with dynamic pitch control fins.

Dirk Smith researches and writes on technology transition, and much more of his work can be found on his website, which you can reach by clicking the logo below.

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