Continuity — "Skyhook was now designing a bigger ramship, big enough to carry a thousand colonists in stasis. But the four-man Skyhook exploring-model was the only ramship now flying" ("The Ethics of Madness", Neutron Star p. 182). This section of that account is dated circa 2353, so no "safe ramscoop" colony ship had been built by Skyhook at that time. However: "Long Pass was experimental, a crew-rated ramscoop. In the abstract, Diego respected the mission plannersí conservatism. The ship's failure could discredit the new technology for a long time" (Fleet of Worlds paperback edition, pp. 3-4. Note this passage was added to the pb edition, and does not appear in the first (hardcover) edition.)
Experimental ship? The experimental Long Pass was apparently launched no later than 2045, as it was cruising at 0.3 cee and in 2095 was almost fifteen light-years from earth (Fleet of Worlds hardcover p. 16), indicating it had been launched nearly 50 years (plus some unknown number of years for acceleration) before. We might speculate that the Lazy Eight II was another experimental safe ramscoop vessel launched around the same time, but it seems highly unlikely that two colony starships would have been given the same name if launched from Earth for the same colony world in the same era. It also seems unlikely that a Bussard ramship design would have used the "circular flying wing" design of the slowboats which carried their own fuel. The configuration of a ramscoop requires the interstellar hydrogen to be funneled through the ship into the combustion chamber at the rear, implying there needs to be a central cylinder in the ship, as is the case with ramscoop ships such as Angelís Pencil and the City Builder Ramships.
Was Bey confused? Beowulf Shaeffer has certainly indicated confusion about the dates of events in the distant past, such as his assertion the Tunguska Event of 1908 occurred 900 years prior to 2651 ("The Borderland of Sol", Tales of Known Space p. 181), whereas it was actually only 743 years before. However, Bey is a more than competent star pilot, and he claims to have personally negotiated with the Outsiders for the information regarding the Lazy Eight IIís position, so it seems unlikely he would be simply mistaken in his claim of a distance of more than 500 light-years.
Fanfixes: Various fans of Known Space have suggested that the ship Bey referred to as the Lazy Eight II was actually the Lazy Eight III. However, Ye Editor does not think this solves the discrepancy. We would have to assume Bey was mistaken about the shipís number and assume it was an early experimental ramscoop, despite indications it wasn't. Perhaps Bey was just telling a "tall tale", one intended to make the xenophobic Gregory Pelton less nervous about meeting Outsiders. Or perhaps there actually was a lost colony ship found by the Outsiders, one launched in the later era of safe ramscoops, and its distance was rather less than 500 light-years. Bey might have been paid to confuse the actual lost ship with one from an earlier era, paid to spread disinformation by whoever bought the information from the Outsiders.