HMS Tracker (P274)

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HMS Tracker (P274) in Cornwall, England 2006
Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Tracker
Operator: Royal Navy
Builder: Ailsa Shipbuilding Company
Commissioned: January 1998
Homeport: HMNB Portsmouth
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: File:HMS Tracker Badge.jpg
General characteristics
Class and type: Archer class patrol vessel
Displacement: 54 tons
Length: 20.8 m (68 ft 3 in)
Beam: 5.8 m (19 ft)
Draught: 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MTU V12 diesels
Speed: 24 knots
Range: 550 nmi (1,020 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 5 (RN), 1 training officer (RNR), 12 students (URNU) or 12 (RN)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Decca 1216 navigation radar

HMS Tracker (P274) is an Archer-class (P2000) patrol and training vessel of the British Royal Navy, used for training purposes by the Oxford University Royal Naval Unit (URNU). Part of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron (1PBS), the vessel is based at HMNB Portsmouth, and is used to familiarise potential officers in the workings of the Royal Navy. She is the third ship to bear the name HMS Tracker. HMS Tracker is one of two Batch 2 P2000s and is capable of speeds of up to 25 knots. She recently came out of refit.

Deployment

Tracker commissioned alongside her sister HMS Raider, Cambridge University Royal Naval Unit's training craft, in January 1998, with Tracker replacing Oxford University Royal Naval Unit's previous training craft, HMS Loyal Chancellor. Her primary mission is to support the URNU's activities but she also conducts other RN tasking, including warfare officer training, youth and cadet outreach, fleet trials, VIP transport and engagement with the wider maritime community. Tracker and Raider are Batch 2 P2000s and are fitted with two MTU V12 diesel engines instead of the two shaft, Rolls Royce M800T diesel engines which the rest of the squadron are fitted with, meaning that Tracker and Raider can travel at a higher speed than the Batch 1s.

The ship's company comprises one Officer, two Senior Ratings and two Junior Ratings who train up to twelve students, undergraduates from Oxford University, Oxford Brookes University or Reading University, for up to fourteen days at a time. During a day's training the students practice navigation and seamanship as well as a wide array of other naval skills. Most of these have been taught in the classroom environment at weekly Drill Nights during the University term. At sea they carry out many of the functions of the Ship's Company and as their skill levels increase they can understudy the Captain and eventually gain RYA qualifications.

During university term time, Tracker takes students to sea for weekends, with destinations including Weymouth, Cowes, Yarmouth and Poole. During Easter and Summer vacations, the ship deploys for longer periods (four weeks at Easter and six weeks in the summer) and further afield (France, Belgium, Holland, Spain) with students on board for two weeks at a time.

External links