Author Archives: sybefur

About sybefur

retired engineer (computer, steam, racing etc.)

December ’19 – a progress update…

Well winter is with us

A quick note on where we are at, while we wait to hear from Windermere Lake Wardens on our application for a berth at Ferry Nab next year….

The boat is back in Heggerscale, and we are working on the following items:

  • LP cylinder “small end” (crosshead bearing) replacement: This had worn, partly due to a severed oil line at some point last year, and partly due to the fact I had to “re-ream” it at erection time to correct some misalignment. So a new bush fitted and reamed to size.
  • HP valvechest to HP Cylinder block leak: This is a recurring problem, there just is very little sealing surface round the port pockets. This year’s fix is an Oakenstrong gasket and Steamseal – let’s see if this works!
  • Cabin roof: Learnt a lesson here about cheap plywood…A small leak around the  antenna cable resulted in the delamination of almost the complete forward part of the cabin roof. So it’s now been cut off, and will be replaced with “genuine” marine ply, and clad in epoxy and cloth like the hull – hopefully with more resilience! As it happens the removal of this rotten wood made the next job much easier.
  • Erecting the mast: As you may have read in an earlier post the Mast Partners had been made, so in the last few weeks we installed this on the boat, inserted the mast, and then started to wonder how on-earth we were going to raise the mast to a vertical position. Practical Junk Rig as usual came up with a good solution. This involved using a “bi-pod and running fore-guy” which worked faultlessly, so we saw the mast upright for the first time yesterday! This is almost a single-handed job, which is good, as it will be repeated each time we need to trailer and re-launch her.
    Mast-head fitting

    Masthead fitting, with halyard crane, and other blocks for various parrels and lasy-jacks.

    The next bit of this process, is to fit the masthead fitting (pictured above), (with navigation lights, VHF antenna and various shackles and blocks. Then we will cast a hard rubber square block at the foot of the mast, to secure it in the tabernacle base – the only problem with this is that the rubber components say they need to be mixed and poured at over 20-degrees C to cure, and it’s currently about -5-degrees C….

  • Once all this is done, we will put the boiler thru her annual test, and then reinstall the engine and hopefully enjoy SY Befur in her intended mode as a Sailing Yacht!
  • Oh yes, and we also need to turn a pile of sailcloth, blocks, shackles, rope and ally battens into a sail – more on that later!

Onwards!

Friday 13th – unlucky for us, and performance data

Lady Luck

Took Befur out for a tour of the lake yesterday, enjoying a day of early autumn sunshine. Conscious that it was a fated day, I was expecting some drama!

Lou managed to (very narrowly) avoid a dunking while we were boarding, so I thought we might of escaped. However, bad planning on my part resulted in us getting blown onto a jetty on the lake, which was (unbeknown to us) fitted with large bolt ends projecting out to catch people in exactly our predicament – so more filling, sanding and re-painting required over the winter to repair a pair of gouges in the hull – bugger!

Performance Testing

One of my objectives for the trip, was to collect some performance data, and the map below (click the link and it should open in google maps) shows the route and the waypoints with speed, direction etc. (clicking on these will give performance data for each bit of the trip).

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?hl=en&hl=en&mid=1qv-Q4JREXMB5lKKMXQmANtZhy-Hxu3DD&ll=54.607108645724125%2C-2.8355938095091915&z=16

The net of this experimentation produced data on two “stable modes” of operation.  All of this at a boiler pressure cycling between 185 psi and 225 psi.

For the record we are now operating with a gear-up ratio from engine to propeller of 1.45:1 and a 21″ x 19″, 3 bladed, left hand prop.

At “cruising speed”

At this speed we are operating with a HP pressure of 60-70 psi, and an LP pressure of around 16 psi and a vacuum of about 10-inches. The engine is turning at between 175 rpm and 125 rpm (when alternator is charging). The map tells us we are moving at about 3 mph (2.6 knts), it was running into fairly light winds, so this data seems realistic.

At “flank speed”

This is about as fast as I feel happy running the plant, and is resulting in the engine slightly outrunning the boiler with a sustained boiler pressure of about 170 psi.. HP pressure is 135 psi, LP pressure 28 psi, vacuum of 14-inches. The engine is turning at 300 rpm and the log tells us she is making between 6.5 to 7.2 mph.

…so with a computed hull speed of just under 8 mph we still have a way to go on the performance stakes.

Those with better maths than I might be able to turn this into some meaningful performance data for the engine hull.

We also had the time to check the depth sounder and it certainly seems to work, with the audible alarm providing some confidence for the helms-person when we are running out of water!

…onwards, it will be “dragging out” time in the next few weeks, and then we can fix the outstanding mechanical issues, ifx the knocks and bangs, fit the mast and figure out how to stop the water getting into the cabin roof!

A Start on Befur’s Sailing Rig

Time to make a Yacht!

Following on from appearing to have (temporarily at least) sorted the steam plant, it’s time to get on with fitting Befur with her Junk-Rig sails, so that she can truly be the Steam Yacht that she was always intended to be. The embarrassment of having to be towed home on three occasions also sharpened our desire to get this job done. Continue reading

Burner Fixes

Just a quick note to record the changes we made to the burner, following the failures on Windermere and Ullswater.

The conclusion was that these failures were mostly heat related. But also we fitted three new control boxes to the burner before we found one that worked!!…

The solutions were:

  • Fit a heat absorbing blanket to the outside of the boiler casing to reduce the radiated heat impacting the burner.
  • Fit an external duct to cause the intake air to be drawn via the control-box and ignition transformer assemblies (to help cool them)
  • Strip and rebuild the burner, fitting new magic eye, solenoid, control box, ignition transformer, motor capacitor and a somewhat worn pump drive coupling.

As noted in an earlier post, this seems to have done the job, so here are some pictures:

A Goal Achieved!

Well that worked!

It would appear that the work on the burner paid off. Yesterday we had a fine day’s trip on Ullswater, from the marina at Watermillock, all the way to Glenridding without a single problem – virtually the full length of Ullswater. (About 3½ hours steaming). The first time we have managed the full length of the lake!

We took most of it at a leisurely pace, with a couple of bursts of speed to avoid yachts out racing…. Continue reading

One Year since Launch!

Well we are probably due an update….

Windermere

We just spent a week camping on the boat in the company of the SBA (Steam Boat Association of the UK) on Windermere.

A curate’s egg of a week! We did get a very fine trip down to Fell Foot (at the south of the lake) and had some nice pictures taken of us on the way 🙂

Continue reading