Reply to post: Nostalgia

Fancy that! Craft which float over everything on a cushion of air

Martin 59


That article brought back memories. My first overseas holiday as a boy was to France, travelling on a Seaspeed SRN4. The names Princess Anne and Princess Margaret were both names I remembered from such holidays and as I got older they served as transport for many a booze cruise.

I also remember the French N500 that Seaspeed used and how unreliable they were. Talking to a stewardess whilst waiting to board (the hovercraft not the stewardess) she assured me from experience that if it breaks down in the middle of the Channel it will float for at least half an hour, which is how long it had taken them to get it going again.

Both the SRN4 and the N500 were boarded by driving across the huge concrete slab on which it had landed and then up a steep metal ramp into the car desk. The N500 ramp was steeper and it was not possible to go over the top in a Ford Granada MkII with four blokes, a boot full of beer, and many more crates bungeed to a roof-rack. To avoid bottoming-out all four of us had to get out and walk alongside whilst I hopped along with my left foot gently on the accelerator (it was an automatic) ready to jump in once we were over. I'm sure that we would never get away with doing that nowadays, but back then the "ground crew" just watched, shaking their heads; probably thinking that the savings in booze will never pay for the new set of shock-absorbers I'll need after driving home.

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