All Weather Lifeboat-Severn Class (ALB)

The Station has two Lifeboats – a Severn Class – Operational Number 1255 – Class Number 17-28 and D-651 an inflatable. This section of the site covers the Specification of RNLB ‘Alec and Christina Dykes’. Build period from late 2000.

The Severn Class boat was named on the 18th August 2002. She came to Torbay and took up service on 31st October 2001. During her commissioning period the boat spent time at the Southampton Boat Show and visited the River Thames.


SAR, MMSI: 232004407

Track on Vessel Finder

The boat is named ‘RNLB Alec and Christina Dykes’ in memory of Mrs Helen Christina Dykes whose bequest covered almost half of the build cost. A number of other individuals and organisations made significant contributions to the lifeboat and its facilities. These are noted on a brass plaque which is mounted in the wheelhouse. Mrs Dykes during her lifetime donated a ‘D Class’ to Ilfracombe Station which was named in memory of her husband.

The Station D Class Inshore Lifeboat is D-651 and named ‘John William Hirst‘. See ILB Section for details. For information the lifeboats are described within the service as the ‘All-Weather Boat’ (ALB) and the ‘Inshore Lifeboat’ (ILB).

To view a summary of monthly launches for both lifeboats click here.

A list of all lifeboats that have served Torbay are set down under the Archives section

Technical Details

Name RNLB Alec and Christina Dykes
Class Severn
Side Number RNLI 17-28 (Length and Build Number)
Operational Number ON 1255
Construction Single skin Fibre Reinforced Composite (FRC) below chine. Foam covered sandwich above Chine

Length 17.3 metres (56 ft 9ins) Range 250 miles
Beam 5.9 metres (19 ft 4 ins) Crew 6 + 1 (Doctor
Monitoring position)

Draft 1.78 metres (5 ft 10 ins) Construction
Displacement 42 tonnes
Design Speed 25 knots Engines 2 x MTU 1600 hp at 3400 rpm
Endurance 12 hours (at Design Speed) Range 250 nautical miles
Propulsion Twin 5 Blade Contra rotating Gear Box ‘V’ Drive Configuration Props
Fuel 5600 litres (2 x 2800 litres) Design Speed – 450 litres per hour
Casualties Fully secured – 12
Inflatable ‘Y’ Class – ‘Y’ Class Outboard 15 hp
The most recent refit occurred between October 2017 and February 2018 at ‘South Boats’,
Cowes, Isle of Wight


The following slide-show shows images from the self-righting test for RNLB Alec and Christina Dykes before she was actually commissioned.
Simon Cooke writes: I was a crew-member with Torbay Lifeboat from 1997 to 2009. I can’t remember the date now (2000?) but I was in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight training with a few colleagues at the ILB centre – this was a few years before the Lifeboat College was established in Poole. It just so happened that the self-righting test for our soon to be commissioned Severn Class lifeboat took place while we were there and we were invited along to watch.
This is the sequence I shot that day. I can’t give you the official time but from the moment the strops were released I reckon it was no more than 5-6 seconds before she was upright.

The Severn Class is the largest in the RNLI fleet; it carries a Y class inflatable with a 15 HP outboard that can be launched with an on-board hydraulic hoist. The Severn Class shares a similar hull shape with the smaller Trent class. The last of 44 Severn Class boats was built in 2005. The new Tamar class – a slipway or afloat lifeboat – was introduced in April 2006 and is currently being deployed around the coast. Likewise the Shannon is now gradually taking up station (2013 onwards) typically at beach launch stations. The Shannon is ‘water jet’ powered.

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