Well, as we approach the end of the 2018 season, we have decided to fetch Befur back onto dry land a little earlier than planned. This is principally because I can’t tolerate the racket the machinery is making underway, and it seems cruel to run it further pending the noise turning into a real “issue”.
…and it floats level!
We did have a nice steam this week about 2 1/2 hrs round the northern reach of the lake in a “fresh” breeze. We were towing the inflatable (still nervous about our reliability) and this very nearly became airborne as we opened Befur up into the headwind – she goes quite well. Continue reading
As Lou explained (as I sat in the land-rover feeling quite defeated) “It’s like when you built the racing bikes/cars – you can’t expect to show up at the circuit and have it all work perfectly the first time you race it. There is always going to be development work.”
…and I guess she is right!
This post firstly relates the trips we have made so far, and secondly attempts to provide a balanced view of the successes and failures to date – to help other builders.
Trials (and tribulations)
“The Day” arrived!
There was no more putting off to be done – we had to launch her. We had agreed the rental of a swinging mooring on Ullswater with Ullswater Marine. So on the 27th June (just over 7 years and 2 weeks since the first post here) we hitched the Landy to the trailer, and with our hearts in our mouth we set off. Actually, as neither of us slept much, and recognising it was “bin day” and aside from the normal, farm/post/school traffic down the 2 miles of single track lane, we also needed to dodge the refuse truck so we decided to set off at 7:30am. Continue reading
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!