One of the more unusual MSBA members is the group of enthusiasts who look after the veteran tug Touchstone, which recently had a refit. Pictured is Gerry, one of the tug’s regular crew, next to Touchstone’s huge propeller.
Launched at Wivenhoe in 1963, until the early 1980s she was mainly employed towing petrol lighters from Thameshaven to Aylesford on the River Medway. At this time the tug was operated with a crew of four or five, plus up to four lightermen.
The tug’s main engine is a compressed air start Lister Blackstone diesel of eight cylinders and 500 hp capacity. The hydraulic gearbox drives a 2 metre diameter 4 bladed propeller. Her tonnage is 68 tons gross and a deadweight of 110 tons.
For more photos and news, see Touchstone’s Facebook page.