(Updated) Thanks to Hugh McFarlane, who notified us earlier this morning (5th November 2010) that she was on the move downriver from her finishing school at Scotstoun, we’ve been keeping up with HMS Dragon, the fourth to be launched of the six Type 45 destroyers known as the Daring class.
All six have now been launched: Daring, Dauntless, Diamond, Dragon, Defender – and the last, Duncan, within the past fortnight.
Dragon was being escorted down the river from Scotstoun by Clyde Marine’s tugs Bruiser and Battler just before 9.00am.
She was spanking through the narrows off Bute at a confident 18 knots and has just (12.50 5th November 2010) cleared the south east tip of Bute to starboard with Little Cumbrae to port .
Dropping speed to 9 knots she then turned to starboard on 240 WSW, seeming to be set on a gentle curve towards the north end of the Isle of Arran.
Now she’s busy doing right angle turns and is on 5.9 knots on 147 SSE, turning immediately to 309 NW. This is the same sort of test we saw from her sister ship, HMS Daring on her own trials.
We’ll keep an eye on Dragon regularly and post updates here.
We went to her launch on 17th November 2008 and reported on it, so we have that odd sense of a relationship that ships so easily seem to command.
Even more oddly, this sort of relationship doesn’t depend on a real time sighting. We watched - on Ship AIS, an embarrassingly obsessive amount of the last Clyde sea trials of HMS Daring, the first of the class – and after weeks of watching this little yellow lozenge slow, speed, turn, twist and come to anchor, she and we are bonded for life.
Update: 08.30 6th November 2010: Dragon spent the night at anchor and in now back on manoeuvres in the Firth of Clyde between the southwest of the Isle of Bute and the northeast of the Isle of Arran.
At the moment, from a northwesterly heading, she’s turned to the west and is on a steady 26wW heading to the west coast of Arran at speeds coming down from 8.7 knots, to 6.3 knots and currently at 5.4 knots.
Updated 12.00 6th November: Dragon is now midway between Brodick on Arran and Ardrossan in Ayr, doing another series of short 90 degree turns at a speed of around 8 knots.
Update 10.20 7th November: Now east of the south end of the Isle of Arran and on a steady tickover speed of around 3.7 knots, Dragon is sailing southwards on a constant heading of 160 SSE.
Update 12.45 7th November: Dragon is now on a counter course and at higher speeds – sailing 2 N at 10.8 knots and currently north of Holy Island at the entrance to Lamlash Bay on Arran degrees north. Her speed has jut come down to 4.2 kts and she has turned to 40° NE, on a heading for the Ayrshire coast at Ardrossan.
Update 23.45 7th November: Now in line with and to the east of the Pladda Lighthouseouth of the Idle of Arran, Dragon is doing 2.6 kts on 216 SW.
Update 22.45 8th November: Dragon is at anchor for the night at the Tail o’ the Bank anchorage, off Greenock.
Update 16.00 9th November: Dragon was on the go early from her overnight anchorage, sailing fast southwards past the Isle of Bute at 7.00am, making her way down the east coast of the Isle of Arran at varying speeds and spending the rest of the day going back and forth between the south of Arran and the east of the Mull of Kintyre. at one point she was on 22.5 knots, the greatest speed we’ve yet seen her do.
Update 09.50 10th November: Well – now shes getting bolder – ranging more widely. At the moment Dragon is going south, coming up to a position in mid channel in the north Irish Sea, west of the Corsewall Light at the entrance to Loch Ryan in Galloway. She’s dropping speed to 4.5 kts on a heading of 196° SSW and has just gone to 2.1 knots at 194° SSW.
Update 11.00 10th November: She’s staying in that sea area, mid-channel and just north of a line from Carnlough in N Ireland to the Corsewall Light o the Galloway coast = and doing her familiar series of sharp turns. At the moment she’s at 2.8 kts on 159° SSE, on the fifth of a series of turns completing a rough box shape.
Update 20.15 10th November: Dragon is now operating in the area between then Cumbraes and Bute, currently coming south through the narrows at 19.6 knots on 190° S.