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!!!

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. 🙂

The decision to relocate to Ferry Nab “Marina” has been an excellent one. We get power, loos, showers, a burger/coffee hut and a complete absence of Rib/Seagull! Well done Louise for realising this was the answer….

Sailing

We have actually got to do some sailing! Four of five trips. We’re being rather cautious, as we are rank amateurs, and we have yet to prove the stability of the hull with sailing rig attached. So far we seem to have done quite well in the light winds we feel comfortable learning in….

Here’s a short video shot by some (far more experienced) sailing friends during a short trip down the lake… We have one panel reefed, so there’s quite a lot of creases, it does set better than this, but it’s working.

Sailing with the Moirs – Poor Angie isn’t enjoying the cold!

What have we learnt:

  • She really is hard to tack if there’s not much wind/headway (lots of stuck-in-irons) – although gybing does seem to work.
  • The leeway can be quite pronounced (witness being driven over some danger marker buoys while attempting to tack) – quickly raising some pressure and starting the engine saved the day…
  • … On the same subject Lou got an object lesson in “where you are pointing may not be where you ae going” as we ran aground returning to the berth via slightly different route (note to steersman: we installed the depth sounder for a reason, but you do need to turn it on!)
  • She is quick when you motor sail – just a few revs on the steam plant and a full sail and 4-5knots is easily achieved (with far less diesel being consumed). This also makes the tacking easier, and allows escape from impending disaster on a lee shore!
  • She steers well (the barn door rudder was a good call), not enough experience yet to determine if she has a pronounced weather/lee helm, but thus far seems neutral.
  • The fumes from the stack can be a pain, but switching to steering from the wheel is OK, but takes a minute or twos set-up.
  • The rig seems easy to set and handle, without much continual tweaking required.
  • She seems “quite” stable, although our cautiousness prevents too much experimentation. We did take some advice from a man with a deal of marine architectural experience and (following some measurement and computation) we now know that Befur exhibits a “MetaCentre Height” of about a metre – I wish we knew if that was good!

So, all in all, good. We just spent a day on a number of maintenance jobs (re-packing stuffing boxes, adjusting drive belt lines, and cleaning stray oil out of the bilges etc!), so we are ready for another trip. We also discovered that none of the chandlers on Windermere stock decent wet weather gear, lots of flash stuff for the wakeboarders, but nothing serious….

We’re going to fit some demountable tubular heaters in the boat to help avoid the risk of frost damage over the winter. (fingers crossed).

Hopefully we will have some more dry/bright autumn/winter days to enjoy the lake- and get better at sailing…

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….

We had been suffering with a loud knock through most of last year, and despite my efforts to engineer it out over the winter it announced its presence on launching about a month back – very disappointing. We narrowed this down to the LP slideways/”small end” connecting rod bearing. Inspection showed there was too much clearance in the crosshead/slideway and a few thou of wear and some galling on the crosshead pin.

So I re-machined the slide-way cover plates to close up the clearances and made a new pin – full of optimism we fired her up again to see (hear) no difference at all – very, very disappointing.

The galling suggested a lubrication problem. You might remember that we have a lubricator which has a separate pump for each bearing. The design for the engine means that a single feed to the top of each connecting rod has to deliver oil both to the crosshead slideways and to the small end (via a t-junction in the rod). My conclusion was that this results in most (all?) the oil leaving via the crosshead, as there is a lot more space there, leaving the small-end pin without sufficient oil. So I replaced the two pumps feeding the HP and LP crossheads with a larger (black-coded) version, delivering 0.1cc/stroke. Miraculously this cured the knock at a stroke! very happy!

We also replaced a leaking clack on the condenser, and had some (but only 6 to 7-inches) vacuum, so it was time to discover if the sail worked….

The sailing log

Grayling and BefurWe left Ferry Nab at about 10:00am and steamed south to pic up Roger from Windermere Marina and the Maltbys (Jill, John and grandchildren) from their boat house.

The Passage North

Then we turned north for a passage to Ambleside. It was a day of light winds (small gusts with moments of near calm blowing from the North). We steamed to just north of Belle Island/Bowness Bay, and then raised the sail and attempted to “beat” upwind…

Befur performed well, managing to claw her way into wind despite our rather poor sail handing (sailing friends are asked to cut us some slack as complete beginners when looking at these pictures, please).

(Larger versions of the images in the slide shows, are also included at the foot of this post…)

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In the interests of keeping the flotilla together, we fired up the boiler to catch up with the others and steamed the rest of the way to the YHA pier at Ambleside for a welcome lunch and coffee…. Does it always rain in the North Basin of Windermere?

The trip south

We steamed off the pier to get off the lee shore, and set to on running back to Bowness with a slightly stronger wind – again she seemed to perform well, although we seem to be reefed down to 5 panels in all the pictures – you could even hear the wash from the bow and stern at some points  – high performance stuff…. Once in the lee of Belle Island at Bowness we steam/sailed the last half mile to Ferry Nab, and Roger’s provided bubbly – we were all very happy… (sorry about the fenders, we are really just not posh enough for the Winermere crew!)

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A snatch of Video

Finally a few seconds of us attempting to tack upwind, with apposite commentary from Roger!

…and thank you all

Thanks to everyone (friends, SBA Members, JRA members and suppliers) who have helped us on the journey to 2020, with generous advice, support, practical help (work), equipment, and good humour)  – and thank you to Louise for allowing me the time (and money) for us to do this and her ever more skilful work as a seamstress, with cushions, beds, covers and that beautiful sail!…

Pictures in full size

Click to enlarge…

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!).

Junk-rigged steam yacht

Louise and her sail, we just need some wind now!

SY Befur moored under sail

On the water with an almost fully rigged sail

Friday 13th – unlucky for us, and performance data

Lady Luck

Took Befur out for a tour of the lake yesterday, enjoying a day of early autumn sunshine. Conscious that it was a fated day, I was expecting some drama!

Lou managed to (very narrowly) avoid a dunking while we were boarding, so I thought we might of escaped. However, bad planning on my part resulted in us getting blown onto a jetty on the lake, which was (unbeknown to us) fitted with large bolt ends projecting out to catch people in exactly our predicament – so more filling, sanding and re-painting required over the winter to repair a pair of gouges in the hull – bugger!

Performance Testing

One of my objectives for the trip, was to collect some performance data, and the map below (click the link and it should open in google maps) shows the route and the waypoints with speed, direction etc. (clicking on these will give performance data for each bit of the trip).

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?hl=en&hl=en&mid=1qv-Q4JREXMB5lKKMXQmANtZhy-Hxu3DD&ll=54.607108645724125%2C-2.8355938095091915&z=16

The net of this experimentation produced data on two “stable modes” of operation.  All of this at a boiler pressure cycling between 185 psi and 225 psi.

For the record we are now operating with a gear-up ratio from engine to propeller of 1.45:1 and a 21″ x 19″, 3 bladed, left hand prop.

At “cruising speed”

At this speed we are operating with a HP pressure of 60-70 psi, and an LP pressure of around 16 psi and a vacuum of about 10-inches. The engine is turning at between 175 rpm and 125 rpm (when alternator is charging). The map tells us we are moving at about 3 mph (2.6 knts), it was running into fairly light winds, so this data seems realistic.

At “flank speed”

This is about as fast as I feel happy running the plant, and is resulting in the engine slightly outrunning the boiler with a sustained boiler pressure of about 170 psi.. HP pressure is 135 psi, LP pressure 28 psi, vacuum of 14-inches. The engine is turning at 300 rpm and the log tells us she is making between 6.5 to 7.2 mph.

…so with a computed hull speed of just under 8 mph we still have a way to go on the performance stakes.

Those with better maths than I might be able to turn this into some meaningful performance data for the engine hull.

We also had the time to check the depth sounder and it certainly seems to work, with the audible alarm providing some confidence for the helms-person when we are running out of water!

…onwards, it will be “dragging out” time in the next few weeks, and then we can fix the outstanding mechanical issues, ifx the knocks and bangs, fit the mast and figure out how to stop the water getting into the cabin roof!

A Goal Achieved!

Well that worked!

It would appear that the work on the burner paid off. Yesterday we had a fine day’s trip on Ullswater, from the marina at Watermillock, all the way to Glenridding without a single problem – virtually the full length of Ullswater. (About 3½ hours steaming). The first time we have managed the full length of the lake!

We took most of it at a leisurely pace, with a couple of bursts of speed to avoid yachts out racing…. Continue reading

One Year since Launch!

Well we are probably due an update….

Windermere

We just spent a week camping on the boat in the company of the SBA (Steam Boat Association of the UK) on Windermere.

A curate’s egg of a week! We did get a very fine trip down to Fell Foot (at the south of the lake) and had some nice pictures taken of us on the way 🙂

Continue reading

A new generation of steam boater?

Another nice day on the lake, recorded by Daughter Kathy and MadMut Marine GPS Navigation Android ap….

Click on the waypoints in on the track displayed by the link below to see performance data.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1N9g2cDMAglY-4f8moEgLVhBVe8uQd1I8&usp=sharing

As you can see we had 3 generations on this trip…Good Friday Trip

A Good Friday Trip

Lou and I had a nice trip in fine weather, moving Befur to her swinging mooring for the season, and travelling south on the lake – our longest trip to date ~4.67Nmiles, mostly cruising at about 3-4kts, with a sprint of about 5.5kts and an apparent fastest speed of 6.2kts.

No obvious problems, and the seagull started on the first pull going home!!!!!Good Friday Trip