I really must write to thank Mark Rudall (Chairman of the SBA) for allowing me to take charge of his steamboat Chimera II at the Puffing a’Wey event in Guildford last week.
It was a great experience. Mark’s boat uses a kerosine pot burner which makes the boiler easy to control, and the Canadian compound engine performed faultlessly.
I was very glad to have a man at the wheel, as monitoring the machinery is a “full time” job. Here’s a shot of Chimera with it’s builder (John Winn) at the helm (well on the ‘phone at least)!
Each year the SBA (Steam Boat Association) has a week long rally at Windemere in the English Lake District.
This year Louise and I arranged to be there at the same time and joined them for a couple of days. This gave us a chance to take a trip on three boats; Arminta (built by Len Williamson), and powered by a Leak compound of the type I am building; Grayling, built by John Maltby – a tribute to his fine engineering; and Imp owned and built by Chris Davis – a lovely traditional river launch, with a Stuart 6A built by himself.
We also visited the Steam Boat Museum, soon to be reopened following a change of management and major refurbishment.
Some pictures below:
Louise and I had a fun weekend with the Steam Boat association, at the Rally they organised with the French Steam Boat Association at St. Ives on the Great Ouse.
A collection of UK, French and Dutch Steamboats in a lock..
We were fortunate enough to blag trips on Lady Selsey (owned by Richard Mitchell) and Theodore (owned by Pieter Brittijn) – with brilliant sunshine, and good company we had a great time.
It also helped confirm Louise’s and my view of the style of boat we wanted to build, we are very taken with the more open “working” boat typified by the yacht tender from the turn of the century (1900!), as opposed to the Edwardian river launch style. (as Louise commented these could be characterized as the difference between Ikea and the Antiques Road Show.
There is still a long way from here to having to implement our decisions, but my current favorite design is typified by Lady May build by John King.
John King’s Lady May, modeled on yacht tenders for the 1900’s
Well this is a little late, but I decided (on the grounds that Louise is being a bit tardy) I should write a little more about our Competent Crew Course with Southern Sailing School…
a route around the island
While the boat was nowhere near as shiny as many of the other equipment on the Solent, It was clear that we had the opportunity to put the Phoenix to good use! It was very hands on, and we enjoyed and withstood all the weather had to offer – including a first night, late night traverse up the Bewley River, and truly tropical rain at Bembridge.
My personal pleasure was being asked to (and succeeding) in laying out and navigating a course to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight! starting at Yarmouth, and finishing at Benbridge (clearing the entry bar by about minus 6 inches!) – it was GREAT fun and very satisfying! You can see my sketchy notes above, and once I had managed to translate the scale on the map to real life – (overrunning my first waymark within 2 minutes!) We were off – and while Duncan insisted we experienced no more than a 4 – later experience on Moody B included a “force 6” that was considerably calmer than our rounding of the needles – a really good day’s sailing!
On the other side my biggest failure was successfully “lassooing” a bouy, but forgetting to hold on to the damn rope! Ejit!
After six weeks solid nagging from Malcolm I have finally been persuaded to write about our experiences on the ‘competent crew’ course. Not sure that this will be of benefit to anybody, but hey – here goes.
Arrived at the school at teatime on Sunday. Felt mostly nervous and this wasn’t eased any by being the only girl amongst a fairly motley selection of blokes. There was ‘hairy Malcolm’ who we all know and love! John, an older chap (well older than us anyway) who seemingly had lots of experience. Ian, a very organised ex military police person now working in the NHS and Duncan the skipper who looked very chilled dressed in beach bum/surfer dude/not yachty sailor type togs.
Following the formal paperwork we were all dispatched to load the boat with food, clothes and other important stuff. We were given a safety briefing, sleeping arrangements were made and we were off. Too scary for words!
Louise and I continued to improve our sea-legs with a fine day out with the Moirs on their 28ft Moody, the “Moody B”. It was blowing enough to require a full set of reefs and dampen all on board – read about it and the rest of the Moody B story here…
thanks Ian and Angie it was fun!
Well, that was fun!
Dawn on the Bewley River
Louise and I decided to go and make sure that we really all DID like sailing, and took a competant crew course wih Southern Sailing School…. and It was good! 5-days on the
Phoenix of Broadway with Captain Duncan and two other students (John and Ian) we toured the Solent and circumnavigated the Isle of Wight and returned more knowlagable, slightly burnt and with a clearer view on what Befur needed. (comfortable bunks, non-smelly heads, etc.).
It’s clear we have passed the point where “camping is fun” and we need our creature comforts.
I will leave it to Lou to comment more fully…