Miss Britain III

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National Maritime Museum, Ground floor

A search for speed dominated the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1933 Hubert Scott-Paine, a pioneer of flying boats and fast naval aircraft, applied aircraft know-how to the design of Miss Britain III. Her wooden-and-aluminium-framed hull was covered in Alclad, a highly polished pure alumunium. This increased her speed and resisted corrosion in salt water.

Miss Britain weighed only 1.5 tons compared to her 7-ton all-wood American rival, Miss America X. In 1933, the two boats raced each other in the USA for the International Harmsworth Trophy, watched by over 250,000 people. Miss Britain was narrowly beaten but the clever use of new materials in her design led to the crucial development of fast naval torpedo boats and gunboats during World War II. 

Later that year Scott-Paine and Gordon Thomas became the first men to travel at over 100 mph in a single-engine boat, and this record remained for 50 years. Miss Britain III was also taken to Venice in 1934 where Scott-Paine won both the Prince of Piedmont's Cup and the Count Volpi Trophy, setting a world record for a single-engine boat of 110.1 mph in salt water.