Another story question

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Finley
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Another story question

Post by Finley » Mon May 28, 2018 10:22 pm

As the character eases up the channel at night, eating as he goes (it's about a 35-foot boat) and nearing his destination, I conceive of the engine being behind him with a kind of engine shack housing it and crates strapped on the front deck. This is an old boat, battered, and I don't think it even has a radio. Can you just kind of give me a visual of what you think this might look like from the cockpit? What might he see as he stands or sits behind the wheel and what are the names of the controls, etc.? Thanks!
lostintime
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Re: Another story question

Post by lostintime » Mon May 28, 2018 11:40 pm

Not to side track the question but to only give a personal preference of "imagery" brass and copper, and lot of it. Whirling things should have curved spokes. My daughter has a movie "castle in the sky", a cartoon set in an alternate early 1900's times frame that has lots of steam and airships ect. That I find myself watching it more than she does because the artistry is amazing. I recommend viewing it. Back to the question.
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Finley
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Re: Another story question

Post by Finley » Tue May 29, 2018 1:19 am

Interesting. I will look up air castle in the sky. Perhaps I can download it.

One thing I am interesting in knowing is: how many gauges? What gadgetry and architecture would be at your fingertips as you stand at the helm? What are your thoughts on controls arrayed there?
lostintime
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Re: Another story question

Post by lostintime » Tue May 29, 2018 3:17 am

Again not to side track, as I am sure the more experienced operators will give good details of the direct steam gauges/controls, but if I was to go out without modern conventional radios/gps, id have a big barometer, thermometer, and relative humidity gauge to warn of impending weather; if indeed set if a post modern time perhaps an archaic radar or depth sounder; if not directly next to the fire box then a manifold pressure gauge on both the fire box and stack to monitor the fire
p.s. add to that a good compass and chronometer as well as charts that show the magnetic deviation to correct for compass error. These change enough over time to make "relic" charts unreliable unless you know how the magnetic flux lines have shifted, my locations correction factor on air navigation sectional charts has changed over 2 degrees less than 20 years.
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Finley
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Re: Another story question

Post by Finley » Tue May 29, 2018 4:31 am

Thanks a lot! That definitely helps!
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DetroiTug
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Re: Another story question

Post by DetroiTug » Tue May 29, 2018 1:29 pm

A 35 foot steamboat would not likely be single handed, unless he had some sort of linkages set up to control the throttle and forward/reverse at the helm and automatic feedwater control which would require him to stop to add fuel (firewood) or take the gamble of running in to something while he was adding fuel and away from the helm under way. This is usually not the case. On a boat that size there are typically two people, a fireman/engineer and a helmsman. The former to control the fire and boiler and operate the engine on "orders" called out from the helmsman either through a speaking tube or bell system, the latter to navigate and oversee the maneuvering and overall operation of the boat, watching for shallow water, snags in their path etc. A fireman/engineer doesn't have much chance to look up away from the machinery very often as it is a full time job, taking on boiler feedwater every few minutes and tending the fire every few minutes, digging firewood out of the bunker. To give you an idea, Locomotive firemen shoveled some riduiculous amount of coal, like one ton every 10 miles or some ridiculous amount. There is a good old British Transport film that portrays the two roles very well, it's for a Locomotive, but the same applies to a large steamboat. It's called"Little and Often"

In this scenario described, he wouldn't see much of anything other than the wheel and the cargo stacked in front of him. If the boiler is near him, again it would be unlikely he would be tending the fire and steering a boat that size. A 35 foot steamer would weight in the neighborhood of 10-15,000 pounds without cargo, too much for one person. I/we assumed you were talking about a small launch. My Tugboat pictured to the left is only 22 foot and I wouldn't dare try to single-hand it, even in my younger days :).

-Ron


Last edited by DetroiTug on Tue May 29, 2018 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another story question

Post by cyberbadger » Tue May 29, 2018 1:55 pm

I echo the sentiment that it's at 35 feet its at least a two person job...

Check out this picture from a contiental steam launch Hungary in 1895.
http://www.thesteamboatingforum.net/for ... f=6&t=1933

This is like almost 30 feet, but not even 30 feet and you clearly have at least two who run the boat for the owner of the boat. This was common in those times - the people who had the money to buy a steam launch would usually have enough money to employee man servants to tend and run the launch for the owner.

-CB

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Re: Another story question

Post by marinesteam » Tue May 29, 2018 3:23 pm

DetroiTug wrote:A 35 foot steamboat would not likely be single handed, unless he had some sort of linkages set up to control the throttle and forward/reverse at the helm and automatic feedwater control which would require him to stop to add fuel (firewood) or take the gamble of running in to something while he was adding fuel and away from the helm under .......

Are you sure about that Ron? :)

From the National Historic Trust Website....
SHAMROCK was built as a saloon launch with a straight stem and a cruiser stern. She was designed as a one-man operation and one person can steer her, control the engine and boiler and tie up alongside with ease. She has two steering wheels, one in the bow and one next to the engine. The bow wheel allows the owner to drive if he wishes, with a crew member to operate the engine.
She's 45 feet.

Ken
lostintime
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Re: Another story question

Post by lostintime » Tue May 29, 2018 3:42 pm

Run it on whale oil, a liquid burner would be much easier to control, and its supposed to burn supper clean
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DetroiTug
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Re: Another story question

Post by DetroiTug » Tue May 29, 2018 3:55 pm

Shamrock may have been designed to run single handed, but it still doesn't make it any less dangerous in tight places and congested boat traffic to try and go it alone in a boat that large. I'll bet the person that wrote "She was designed as a one-man operation and one person can steer her, control the engine and boiler and tie up alongside with ease.", never tried it. :)

And too Shamrock is not the typical wide-beam cargo carrying workboat/launch. He also mentioned that the engine was away from the helm in an enclosure.

Quote: "I conceive of the engine being behind him with a kind of engine shack housing it and crates strapped on the front deck. This is an old boat, battered, and I don't think it even has a radio."

Good luck single handing that. :D That is basically the set up I have and in my often careless sense of judgement I have been tempted to try and single hand it, but nope, all it would take as I step away, some nimrod on a jetski would dart out in front of me and stop, I've had it and several other things like that happen. When I was in New York for Tugboat roundup we were in a parade, we were in a line coming in to the landing and they had fireworks and a big water arch over the river provided by the fire department, The huge tug in front of us quickly reversed to avoid hitting someone backing out in front which required the whole line to have to stop and back up. Single handed we would have been smashed.

Something to consider for us: Can we imagine trying to explain in court why the helmsman wasn't at the wheel or paying attention when a child swimming outside a beach barrier or water skier was ran over and killed? That would be negligent homicide.

-Ron
Last edited by DetroiTug on Tue May 29, 2018 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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