Category Archives: The Sailing Log

Life on the Water!
Below are posts relating to Louise and my experiences “on the water” in learning to sail and steam!!!

End of Season Work and a Blowy Day

Just a note to say that Befur is out on the hard now, so we can commence the over-winter work.

We made about 5 or 6 trips on the lake in the season, and spend quite a few days on the mooring spannering the various issues we had into submission.

However, just before we fetched her out the first named Storm of the year “Ali” produced some impressive weather, with gusts of over 70mph on Ullswater. We stopped by to see how she was doing on her mooring – here is a video…

Work List

The main task is to find the source of all the knocking and rumbling (which I still think is most likely a fractured crank) and then tackle some other outstanding issues. This list is to remind me what is to be done:

  • Inspect/fix/remake the Crank
  • Cure the leaks between HP cylinder and Valve Chest
  • Make some Gauge Cocks (to damp the pressure surges in the gauges)
  • Tidy up the fittings for the stern-tube cooling feed
  • Re-paint antifouling (as quite a lot fell off!)
  • Inspect/test all the vacuum side for leaks as it’s still quite low (~10-15 inches hg)
  • Make a new ball-cock valve for hotwell (plug-cock type)
  • Maybe make some drawers for the galley
  • Fit a stern light
  • Think about remaking the cockpit sole to improve access to stern-gland etc.
  • Fit a seacock to the blow-down line (to allow the flexible hose to be removed when afloat)
  • Install a skin-fitting for the bilge ejector…
  • Make a whistle that whistles!
  • Attend a VHF course, to get my license 🙂

Yesterday I stripped down the plant ready to have the engine lifted out next week. I also took some pictures to remind us how it all goes back together!

Rebuilding picture

Rebuilding Pictures

Onwards…. 🙂

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Time to take stock

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

Are we having fun yet?

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)

Continue reading

Launching & Initial Sea Trials

 “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

Chief Engineer for the day!

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)!

SBA Event at Windermere

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:

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Steaming with the ABV

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.

In a Lock 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