New twin Honda BF150 powered Spirit of Dawn NSRI rescue craft put through her paces in Table Bay
The new 7.3 RIB for Shelly Beach, has been put through her paces during sea trials, a rescue craft that was funded by a bequest from the Estate of the Late Rob Duncan and will be named “Spirit of Dawn” in honour of his late wife who predeceased him.
The Spirit of Dawn, sponsored by the Estate Late Robert Duncan in memory of his late wife will be driven by two four stroke 150 HP Honda VTECs.

This new NSRI boat will weigh in at about 2,5 tons with a full load of rescue gear and 300L of fuel. She is kitted with all the latest electronic radio and navigation systems and will carry a maximum crew of 6.

According to Operations Director, Mark Hughes, “She will have an endurance of 3 hours at full throttle with a top end speed of 35 knots. If she is not responding at full speed her economical range will be a total of 80 miles with a 25 percent emergency fuel reserve.”

“The four stroke engines give us a better fuel economy, longer range and have what is arguably the most environmentally friendly technology … all of which is important to us at NSRI,” said Mark.

“But perhaps most important is the exceptional service that Honda give us. They are simply the best in this department.”

For the actual test, the Spirit of Dawn was launched at Oceana Power Boat Club in Table Bay by the NSRI Operations team with Shelly Beach Station Commander Pieter Coetzee and Regional Director Eddie Noyons in attendance. Gavin Scholz and Bev Richards, friends of the Late Rob Duncan also went to sea on her.

NSRI Spirit of Dawn Test - Mark Hughes, Cleeve Robertson and Gavin Scholz with Bev Richards

Rob Duncan, a fourth child and only son, was named for his maternal Grandfather – Robert Mercer, and his uncle William Mercer, both of whom had died at sea (torpedoed in World War 1) before Rob was born.  Both were ships engineers working in Merchant Navy Convoys bringing food to the UK.  Robert Mercer’s ship was sunk in 1917 and his son, William Mercer’s ship was sunk in 1918 just before the war ended. Robert Mercer was particularly brave – at over 67yrs old he was a volunteer. He was drowned because – as Chief Engineer – he went back down to the engine room to see if any of his staff were still there, though he had been up on deck when the ship was struck.