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Freelance MGB 45 S3

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johnk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 October 2016 at 5:48pm
Hi Steve,

Ah, yes the light has dawned! of course...sorry about that...many thanks,
]
Johnk
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Steve View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2016 at 2:46pm
No apology necessary - I did exactly the same thing earlier in this thread!
Steve
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johnk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2016 at 3:52pm
Hi Steve,

Many thanks, all the best,

Johnk
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Tim Deacon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tim Deacon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2016 at 1:39pm
Hi. I did take a couple of photos of the 'V' drive boxes (at least the best I could, given the mess she was in), just before S-3 was being towed away. (The photos are too big to go on the Forum!)
I know that Paul Szuster (son of Witold Szuster, the C/O of the WW2 Polish Flotilla) was interested in rescuing the 'V' drives, but he is in Adelaide, Australia and the 'V' drives are in the bottom of the boat on the Medway!
If you would like to contact me direct, I can explain more and send you copies of the photos I have. It would be nice to know they were rescued and possibly being used in restoring another WW2 boat.
Tim Deacon (tim@deacon427.fsnet.co.uk)
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Medyna View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Medyna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2016 at 6:34pm
Just in case it's of interest to anyone, I first met Freelance/MGB45/S3 in 1969 when Jim Henderson arrived on her at Teddington under tug, as she was still engineless, and had come from Rye. I then lived (illegally) aboard a lifeboat mid-stream, the Thames spate was running, and I got to and from shore in a small speedboat to overcome the spate. Freelance interested me, so I motored down to her, to find Jim waving for a lift ashore. Thus began a very close friendship which lasted till Jim died in 2005, and thereafter still with his wife Sheila.
I stayed aboard Freelance whenever my lifeboat got too wet, and she was a major influence in my buying MTB253/Medyna in 1976, which I had known since a child.
I helped fit the engines. To correct a mistake in this thread, Jim originally intended fitting petrol Hudson Invaders, bought them, and they were pulled over the edge into the Thames due to a classic craft called Wigeon of Fearn getting moored to them at high tide at Toughs of Teddington, and pulling them over as tide fell. So Jim bought the diesel engines which were installed, but they were Perkins S6M's, 120 hp each, not the Volvos some people have mistaken them for. Those V-drives ran perfectly, with just a smooth whine. The props were changed by diving underwater at Teddington mid-Summer (1975) when the Thames was in quiet mood. On her trial when the S6M's were first fitted she still had the original props, and tickover produced about 5 knots. Jim had new props cast to his specification (18 x 9 for the technical)  by Wilman Engineering at Teddington, and they were spot-on. The Mathway steering was great, but the wire linkages to the mechanical gearboxes needed a bit of a knack.
When I moved downstream with Medyna in 1987, Jim decided to follow, and we ended up at Dauntless on Canvey Island, (Freelance as a direct trip, and Medyna via a three week East Coast holiday). There Freelance stayed until 2002, when Jim moved ashore solely for Sheila's health. He hated losing Freelance, having owned her since 1965. She departed under the S6M's, but the buyer reported having "blown" one of them within weeks. She went to Hoo, was houseboated, and this has become her graveyard, as with so many others.  I went down and said goodbye to her in Hoo in May 2015, as she had just been sold to the lady who shortly thereafter scrapped her.
I am sad at this end, though she had not been out of the water for 50 years, so how much of the outer skin remained was anyone's guess. Every time I put Medyna on a slip, Jim said he really must do that with Freelance soon, but it never happened. She certainly looked very suspect round the waterline when I saw her last year.
When I think how in 1977 I declined an invitation to take Medyna in the Queen's Jubilee Pageant on the Thames (as I then had petrol-paraffin engines which would have been problematic among all those boats) and Jim took Freelance instead, and she performed perfectly, with her wartime Polish C O aboard, it is painful to now witness her end. However, very well done all those who have photographed and documented her sad demise, without whose efforts we would not have known the final situation. 
Peter Leggett, former owner (1976-1991) ex MTB 253, later Motor Yacht Medyna.
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Tim Deacon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tim Deacon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2016 at 7:23pm
Hi Peter

That was a great piece of news about S-3 (and also about your MTB Medyna!).....I've been collecting info and photos on S-3 (and the other Polish boats) since about 1974, and your bit of information is very useful for future reference. I could have sworn the engines were Volvo's! For any Polish readers (I'm not one unfortunately!), there is a great book available by Mariusz Borowiak titled 'Scigacze', published in 2015 (ISBN 978-83-7020-611-6) and has a chapter (9) dedicated to S-3 with a great photo of S-2 and S-3 painted in camouflage colours in 1940-41. I helped Mariusz with his book and he used some of my photos collected over the years, which originally appeared in my book (also titled 'Scigacze, which I self-published in 2012....I've a few copies left from the original 100 printed if anyone is interested!).
I do hope that the 'V' drives may be rescued and used.
Tim Deacon.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Medwaycaptain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 February 2018 at 2:58pm
Reading with great interest and even more sadness, I bought Freelance in Canvey Island in 2003, she was towed to Port Werburgh on the Medway and the previous owner started her and positioned on the mooring.
I didn't know at that time but the starboard engine was defective and no water supply, as I was to find out later after commissioning the port engine and finding the starboard to have a cracked block, I would imagine had been that way for some time.
I bought a replacement engine and lots of spares, S6Ms as mentioned, but had neither the skills or funds required to get her going again, although I did my best.
I had the boat for 3 years, lots of work and upkeep and she was a pleasure, I was so interested to read more of the history and of the previous owner that I knew little about.
Without mentioning names after I sold her she was neglected, the brass port holes painted over!, but worse of all bulkheads removed affecting the structure, someone told me the owner had turned off the bilge pump because they didn't like the noise it made!.
I recall Tim Deacon coming down and a very interesting chat, and the drawings you mention.
When it was my time to move on I did so with regret, but I needed something more practical, and I had hoped someone would take her on and at the very least look after her, it wasn't to be, I am still on the Medway and know of her location, not half a mile from me, but I shall never go along to see it, would be upsetting, I have seen from a distance water side, that was enough.
I think she could have been saved, with the right people, such a shame is wasn't.
Previous owner of MGB45 S3
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johnk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2018 at 8:42am
Hello there,

Many thanks for your post, indeed as per this thread a great pity she was consigned to the dump....yes, I had nothing to offer or do with her, .....we can as ever be grateful that others are working on our CF vessels, but you can at least say you did care and your best for her, as you say, keeping such a vessel going as your home far far from easy...thanks again and all the best.

Johnk
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Medyna View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Medyna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2018 at 1:56am
Lovely to hear from the owner of Freelance after Jim Henderson, and especially to hear that he has a soul (!) in that he actually seems to have cared what happened to the boat. Yes she could have been saved, and yes she was worth saving, but I heard from Tim Deacons that the problem was that the Medway Ports Authority did not want her towed to a suitable slipway for slipping, in case she sank midstream. If she had managed to float each tide and settle again on the mud on every tide since 1987 (before that she was on fully-floating moorings ever since she arrived on the Thames), and achieved this on a series of different mud berths, I think the chance of her sinking under a gentle tow in calm water to be low, but this was apparently the problem.
As to the S6M's, that pair of engines still had the original gear type water pumps (i.e. not Jabsco converted) so not self-priming, so on each starting you had to screw down the pump greasers till the water issued from the exhausts. Occasionally they would work without this, but this procedure was in the Perkins S6M handbook, and usually necessary. I watched Jim doing this over a period of many years, and because of this I converted my own S6M's on MTB253 Medyna to Jabscos. If this was not done on Freelance, an engine could be running without water, and so crack either the block or the twin cylinder heads, and those engines really did need a lot of water through them, with the raw water cooling system they had. Probably this is what happened if someone other than Jim tried starting them??? Just a thought.
I certainly agree that from the photos I saw via the brokerage when she was last sold, bulkheads had been removed, particularly that one where you had to step up and over. Annoying but important, so this, as the intermediate owner suggests, would probably be a main cause of her becoming leaky and weak. When Jim had her at Canvey, she actually did not leak at all provided the sternglands were kept greased.
Sad all round, but I am pleased to know more of the story. I understand the feeling of not wanting to see the hulk, as I have refrained from going to see Medyna's hulk. Considered it at first, when told by Steve on this site that she had been sunk, but later decided against, even though it should be easier now that Kingsnorth Power Station is no more, so the security may be less.  I sold her up and running and seagoing, and that's how I would like to remember her, and not as a hulked houseboat.
Peter Leggett, former owner (1976-1991) ex MTB 253, later Motor Yacht Medyna.
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johnk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2018 at 8:25am
Hi there,

Just to say many thanks for your memories of her, as before, I recall visiting years ago...all the best,

Johnk
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