The experience with the U.S. Torpedo Boat Goldsborough included conditions which caused shipbuilders a loss of over $2,000,000, and led to the failure of three firms. The Goldsborough was a torpedo boat built by Messrs. Wolff & Zwicker, Portland, Oregon, from their own designs. The year 1896 saw contracts signed for the building of ten torpedo-boats, the Dahlgren, T. A. M. Craven, Farragut, Davis, Fox, Morris, Talbot, Gwin, Mackenzie, and McKee, to which were added in 1897 three others, the Stringham, Goldsborough, and Baily.
GOLDSBOROUGH had a length overall of 198 feet; extreme beam, 20 feet 7 inches; normal displacement of 255 tons; mean draft 6 feet 10 inches; designed speed of 27 knots, and a designed complement of 3 officers and 56 men. Her original armament was four 6-pounders and two 18-inch torpedo tubes.
On 13 September 1900, while going at a record-breaking clip in a preliminary test of her machinery, the torpedo boat destroyer Goldsborough met with an accident similar to one which occurred on Feb. 25 last, breaking the rocker shaft on the port engine. Chief Engineer Bodmar had ordered a full head of steam turned on to make a test' of speed, and was engaged in taking record of the revolutions when the shaft snapped. He estimated that she was going over thirty-three knots per hour and everything was working beautifully. No damage was done to the other machinery, and a o new shaft has been sent for, which will require about a month to replace. The accident will cost the builders about $5,000.
The standardizing trials were completed about the 10th of March 1901, the mean displacement for the runs being 255 tons. So far as the standardizing trial goes, the torpedo boat Goldsborough was believed to have broken all American records. A dispatch received at the Navy Department from Lieut. Commander Peters of the naval trial board, dated at Seattle, read: " GoldsborougH standardizing trials completed to-day, over measured mile gave average speed of 30.84 knots."
Following these runs, an attempt was made on the 18th of March 1901 to run the official trial, the requirements of which are that the boat shall maintain an average speed of 30 knots for two hours. But after running for forty-six minutes, the port low-pressure eccentric rod broke in the jaw at either side of the rod and brought the trial to a close. At the time of the accident the steam pressure was 220 pounds, and the revolutions 310 per minute. The rod was a nickel-steel forging.
The Secretary of the Navy was authorized by Congress on March 3, 1905, in his discretion, to waive the statutory speed requirement of thirty knots an hour for the torpedo boats Stringham and Goldsborough, authorized and contracted for under the Act approved March third, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven; to accept said vessels, after such trial as he may prescribe, and to make final settlement therefor under the contracts for their construction, subject to such deductions from the contract prices as may in his judgment be proper, if any, on account of speed failure, giving due consideration to the losses incurred bv the contractors in endeavoring to fulfill their obligations where said losses were due to changes of modifications of plans or specifications ordered by the Department.
The torpedo boat was commissioned in the Puget Sound Navy Yard 9 April 1908. GOLDSBOROUGH joined the Pacific Torpedo Fleet after commissioning on 9 April 1908 and spent the next six years based at San Diego, California. During World War I GOLDSBOROUGH served with the Pacific Torpedo Fleet and operated in the Pacific Northwest throughout the conflict. She was decommissioned in Bremerton, Washington 8 September 1919.
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