Author Archives: sybefur

About sybefur

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

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 …

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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. 🙂

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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

A bit of a blow to progress!

Well two bits of good news, and two less positive points, for this entry….

Positive #1 – She’s in her berth at on Windermere

Ready for the tow to Windermere, she makes quite a long train – but now has her “SY” prefix being a real Steam Yacht!

So, having dispensed with the medical matters (see below), we set about trying to complete the list of 60+ jobs that needed to be done before we could put her back in the water (some of which were discussed here…. Continue reading

Thank God for the Lockdown!

Well, here we are in May 2020, and we are actually looking like Befur will soon warrant her “S.Y.” prefix, being a real Steam Yacht and all!

Almost all 6 panels, but missing a few bits of string – hence the creases….

Nine years work, and we feel like we are getting close to the end – the lockdown has been a blessing, as it has removed the stress of trying to be ready for the 1st of April, when our Windermere berth became available, and allowed us to work through the near-endless list of jobs that needed doing…

Today we managed to hoist the sail for the first time, and while there are several more bits of “string” to be added, it actually looked something like the CAD drawings we have been working from for a couple of years. Rather satisfying!

Missing String List: Continue reading

Sails, Cabin, Boiler & Gally – February ’20 update

Just a note to record the things we have been doing over the last month or so.

Most importantly we have secured a berth at Ferry Nab on Winderemere, so Befur will be exploring new waters this year. So, as always, the cosh is upon us, with the berth being available from the 1st April (yes, we know, not an auspicious date!).

The work has divided into annual maintenance, finishing/installing the sailing rig and finishing the fit-out of the galley – and sundry diversions. Continue reading