Author Archives: sybefur

About sybefur

Retired engineer (computer, steam, racing etc.), and builder of the steam yacht Befur

Winter Work

Befur home for winter work

Befur home for winter work

Well, Befur is back in the fells for some winter work.

The pull-out and trip home was uneventful, thanks to Simon and Dean’s help, and the garage finally finding and fixing the leak in the Land Rover’s turbo pipes! Much less smoke and much more go!

Work to do

We have a tentative list of work we want to do, and the game plan is to try to get back into the water before Heggerscale freezes (the lake is a milder climate to over winter in)! However, as I write this post, and document the work, it seems questionable if we will finish the work in 2022!!!

The work falls into several groups, some just inspection/maintenance and some fixing/improving: Continue reading

SBA 50th Rally

A memorable week: variable weather, lots of friends,
some mechanical mayhem

The first week of August is “Windermere Week” for the SBA, where a number of members gather, with their boats, and a number of marine and social events occur. This year it marked the 50th anniversary of the SBA, so more jollity was ordered and delivered. Continue reading

On Condensers – what a lot of water!

The hunt for the vacuum

Regular readers will recognise that we have been searching for the fabled 20+ inches of vacuum that our fellow  stem boaters claim to achieve…. We, meanwhile, have only ever seen 5 to 10 inches at best 😦

Well, over the last few weeks, I think we have been edging towards an answer, and I think there is some valuable information for other steam plant operators, that can be gleaned from our experiences…

The Clues

Continue reading

A first sail of 2021

Wednesday (5th May) provided the first trip of 2021 with some wind (and dramatic views of the new snow!!! on the fells).

We had rebuilt the lubricator (using a 10mm ID needle-roller sprag clutch and a hard-chrome bar collar to run on) and this seemed to work well.

Initially we took the (almost obligatory) trip round Belle Isle with a rafted up lunch with Etna and Aurora.

We then set off into the south basin and …

Continue reading

Winter’s Coming: Sailing notes…

Time for an update.

Well as Winter approaches in the Norther Hemisphere (Mid October), it seems time to add a few notes on actually sailing Befur. I see it’s 23rd July since we posted an update, so I am clearly getting lazy! In the interim it seems WordPress have “improved” their editor, duh! more unnecessary software to learn. grrrr!

Befur moored at Ferry Nab
Befur sitting on her berth at Ferry Nab

While we have continued with the stream of maintenance-cum-repair-cum-development that seems to be the bread and butter of steam-based boating, we have made progress and have usually got where we are planning to go without mechanical break down. 🙂

Continue reading

HP valve to Cylinder Joint & Lubrication

From Experience two other issues to consider

While these are not drawing errors, they have emerged over the first 3 seasons with the engine, and should be considered by builders.

HP Valve Chest to Cylinder Joint

In the BOOK the designer suggests using Araldite? as a jointing/sealing material… its not a solution, particularly for this joint.

The joint between the HP Valve Chest and the HP cylinder is problematic, as the sealing faces are very thin, and the two components are only secured by 4 bolts, which are hard to tighten and not well positioned to ensure a steam tight joint.

My first attempt was using “SteamSeal” jointing compound  – this failed quite quickly.

The second attempt was using “Heldite” jointing compound – this failed within a few hours.

My last attempt was using “Oakenstrong” gasket paper, I had resisted this, not wanting to affect the overall block dimensions. However, rebuilding with gasket paper and jointing compound (Heldite) does seem to have cured this problem.

Lubrication of “small ends”

I spent a long time chasing a knock that appeared to come from the LP small end. Rebushing the piston rod and a new pin did not cure this, and it was clear that the pin was suffering.

This was finally cured by increasing the size of the Lubtech pump units feeding these bearings and slide ways. A “black” one (0.1cc/stroke) silenced the knock instantly.

I am sure that a better builder than me might make the sideway fits better, but the lubrication points at the bottom of the piston rods have to lubricate the “small end” and the slide-ways, and so need a heavy oil flow to ensure that both bearings are supplied on each cylinder, as I think the oil preferentially flows to the slide-ways, starving the bush at the lower end of the piston rod.

Is this the end? Probably not!

Timeframe missed a bit

Well, looking back the first post here was on 8th June 2011, and we aimed to finish and launch by 26th June 2015 – planning was never my hot spot! We did change the goal posts in mid-flight (adding a sail, loo, etc, and stretching her from  a planned 16ft to almost 27ft to get everything in, but hey we did get there!), and on the 20th July 2020 we took her for a steam and sail on Windermere with a cameraman (Roger Heise from the SBA) on hand to record her 2nd trip under sail (thank you Roger).

Notes on the Steam Bit

Before I inflict an album of sailing photos on you, a couple of notes on the steam side, especially for Leak Compound builders…. Continue reading

Cast Off Captain!

Well, this really is a milestone!

Today (8th July 2020), we finished rigging the sail, stowing all the stores, and getting her ready for the first steam and sail…

A picture is certainly worth a few hundred words… but Lou’s sail, Arne’s instructions and David Tyler’s advice have produced what looks like a working solution – just need some wind now.. (and some HK parrels to make those creases disappear!). Continue reading