Searching for my Steamboat's History

For the non-technical side of living with Steamboats, videos and general pictures.
RNoe
Lighting the Boiler
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Boat Name: Clauran
Location: Northern Oregon

Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by RNoe » Thu May 30, 2019 5:11 pm

I recently acquired a 17 foot long steam powered Thistle launch, 90% restored. As soon as my right shoulder rebuild gets better, I will complete the restoration process.
I am trying to uncover this boat's history, and here's what I know already:

The cold-molded Thistle sailboat hull was built in 1964, according to the last Wisconsin, USA, registration papers.
The usual Thistle Class Association Hull Number is nowhere to be found on the hull.
It is equipped with a 1960s vintage Blackstaffe/Wood boiler and steeple compound power plant.
The boat was sold at auction in Wisconsin in 2016-ish. (See the auction picture below, with its black hull.)
It was purchased by Bill Palsoulich of Port Ludlow, Washington State.
He totally restored the hull (down to bare wood), fiberglassed it all, rebuilt the engine, and fabricated a new replacement boiler identical to the original, using all new copper coils and Duplex stainless steel for the 3 drums and down tubes! Bill was a perfectionist at all that he touched.
Unfortunately, Bill passed away early this year before finishing the project. It is now mine to complete.
Pictures below.

My interest in Steam Thistles began in 1960 when my Family built Thistle #1419, and sailed/raced it for many years. I owned it for another 20+ years.
I always thought a Thistle would make a great stream launch with its light planing hull and classic plumb bow.
I am also searching this boat's history with the Thistle Class Association and the NW Steam Society in Washington State.
I wish to find the original Thistle hull #, when it was converted from sail to steam, and any other knowledge you Folks may have to share.
There are some who think this conversion to be on the evil side, but it truly is a dream come true for me!

Thanks for any info you can share.
Russ Noe`
Mount Hood Parkdale
Oregon, USA
StT black hull small.jpg
StT 4 small.jpg
StT 2 edit.jpg
Last edited by RNoe on Thu May 30, 2019 5:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
RNoe
Lighting the Boiler
Lighting the Boiler
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 5:29 pm
Boat Name: Clauran
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by RNoe » Thu May 30, 2019 5:13 pm

Some more pictures of my Steam Thistle.
~Russ Noe`
boatshow.jpeg
boatshow.jpeg (170.26 KiB) Viewed 698 times
boatschool.jpeg
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fredrosse
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Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by fredrosse » Fri May 31, 2019 2:12 pm

Looks like a wonderful conversion. On our lake (Noximixon in PA) I have been looking at Thistles for this exact purpose for years, great hull for a light weight steamer.

Best wishes to get steaming soon.
RNoe
Lighting the Boiler
Lighting the Boiler
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 5:29 pm
Boat Name: Clauran
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by RNoe » Fri May 31, 2019 4:56 pm

Thanks, Fred.
Thistles do seem like an obvious steamer hull.
Being a One-Design class sailboat, conversions seem a bit...not right.
But I found this one, and it meets my Dream Criteria.
Research indicates two other Thistle hulls were converted to steamers in the 1960s.
Their power plants were much larger and heavier. I think this compact Blackstaffe/Wood conversion is ideal.
~RussN
RNoe
Lighting the Boiler
Lighting the Boiler
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 5:29 pm
Boat Name: Clauran
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by RNoe » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:57 pm

Progress Report:
As my rebuilt right shoulder has come back on line, I've begun working on the Steam Thistle. Now I know I can use an impact wrench left handed...

First picture shows the trailer and boat as received; second picture shows the boat on the rebuilt trailer.
New suspension to lift the transom off the road (gained 9" of height!), new tires, new robust fender mount system, new bunks under the wooden hull, new license and more.
May not seem like much, but I have to approach this project literally from the ground up. And now I can re-install the prop, shaft, and aft bearing support.

I've also designed and fabricated the missing bilge water ejector, and am working on the steam atomized oil fuel burner system. Many such items disappeared between the time of the restorer's passing, and when I acquire this project steam launch.
Also repaired the small patch on the starboard outside of the hull (matched the paint!), and have done all the required varnish touchup. Love that smell!
Today I will begin machining a flywheel to replace the missing one.

I have 4 pages of tasks to do, and remain busy, with all that life throws in our path. One task at a time.
Fun times.
RussN
The attachment StThistle R profile small.jpg is no longer available
StThistle R profile small.jpg
Last edited by RNoe on Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
RNoe
Lighting the Boiler
Lighting the Boiler
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 5:29 pm
Boat Name: Clauran
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by RNoe » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:59 pm

Second picture, showing rebuilt trailer.
Russ
Thistle Trailer Done small.jpg
RNoe
Lighting the Boiler
Lighting the Boiler
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 5:29 pm
Boat Name: Clauran
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by RNoe » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:47 pm

I finished and installed the replacement flywheel.
The original cast unit was unfortunately missing, and is visible in an earlier picture in this thread.
6" diameter and 11 lbs. (15.24 cm and 5 kgs)
The new flywheel is machined from two steel parts pressed together. It came out very nicely.
RussN
Attachments
B-Flywheel 11 small.jpg
B-Flywheel 3 small.jpg
B-Flywheel 3 small.jpg (149.74 KiB) Viewed 315 times
B-Flywheel 1 small.jpg
Last edited by RNoe on Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
RNoe
Lighting the Boiler
Lighting the Boiler
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 5:29 pm
Boat Name: Clauran
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by RNoe » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:50 pm

Finally installed the new flywheel on the engine.
I painted two white stripes on the rim so I could determine RPM using my hand held optical indicator, from my RC aircraft flying days.

So I've been able to test the engine using compressed air, and it runs perfectly. Yea!
What are the odds...
RussN
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Flywheel done 1 small.jpg
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PeteThePen1
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Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by PeteThePen1 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:28 pm

Well Done Russ. That is looking very nice. Hope the shoulder is recovering well too.

Regards

Pete
RNoe
Lighting the Boiler
Lighting the Boiler
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 5:29 pm
Boat Name: Clauran
Location: Northern Oregon

Re: Searching for my Steamboat's History

Post by RNoe » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:15 pm

Pete:
My shoulder is recovering slowly. Thanks for asking.
I'm working on regenerating an atrophied muscle and that takes time.

Regenerating an atrophied steam launch seems much easier... :D
RussN
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