Thursday, 24 March 2011

Choosing the boat and design. (T-7)

When you have the rare opportunity of  starting with a clean sheet for a bespoke boat you don't want to waste it so we were reluctant to go down the Josher of even Northwich route. Despite having a liking for the Brinklow produced Cowburns and even having a chance for a look at Swan which was then on the bank at Dadford's being restored our inclination was to go for a boat styled after a tug.
The former types above should of course have a hold rather than a full length cabin so I reasoned that it would be possible to get closer to the original shape of boat with a tug replica. Some early tugs, originally built for towing (rather than cut down carrying boats) are of similar proportions to a modern leisure boats.

Worth a mention at this point is the very informative BCNS article by Martin O'Keeffe on tugs:

Subject boats considered were:

1 GJCC steam tunnel tugs.
Beaten to it with a genuine steam powered replica by Keith AKA "tunneltug" with Hasty, currently under build at Brinklow. Have a look at this fine boat:

Another nice looking tunnel tug replica is Pilot. Although diesel powered, the funnel in this boat is cleverly arranged, in a realistic position as though on the boiler, to be the chimney for the saloon stove.

2 Stentor by Walkers.
Thanks to the books "Colours of the cut" and "Walkers of Rickmansworth" Stentor seems to be a very well known boat with lots of information available including build drawings from national Maritime Museum.
There is even film available of Stentor in later years after conversion to a leisure boat.
The length and proportions are close to what I envisaged to allow a practical internal layout. To this end Dave and I fiddled around with the layout of the inset pannels and rivetted centre section over the engine room. However we could not get it to look right with the engine further back in the replica.
Most other features we wanted to incorprate though would fit well if a replica of Hector, Stentor's  sister vessel was chosen since Hector was built with full wooden cabin rather than a metal skinned engine room.

3 We therefore decided to build a replica loosely based on Hector incorprating the following features:


- Full length gunnel rubbing strake.

- Bow to be compound curved,  based on a modified version of Dave's 5 plank josher pattern modified to use a stem iron recovered from a wooden boat. Unfortunately we tried the stem iron Dave had against the bow patterns and it was a poor fit so we are currently trying to source another suitable one...
 The wooden bows being built at Walkers at the time are shown clearly in a picture of Arveleecom inWalkers of Rickmansworth.

- Counter and rear deck.
This will be of eliptical shape (like a GU boat) and  extended behind the tiller where a single towing hook will be installed.
-Front deck and fore deck
14 feet long, possibly without the cratch beam.


- Inset pannels, four along the cabin, grooved to represent vertical wooden planks.
There will be 2 hatches (rather than 1) each side for practical reasons. The extra hatch will be between the galley and saloon each side.

- Portholes. Hector had small portholes and not many of those either.
For practical reasons some compromises have to be made and larger portholes will be one of these.
However the intention is to use only 7 (4 stbd  3 port) 8 inch diameter tug style portholes in the cabin sides with 3 more in FMC type pigeon boxes over the engine room, galley and saloon.

NB "Rivet counters" may notice that some aspects of this boat are different to the original.
In some cases practicalities (and keeping Mrs W happy) force compromises.
Dave has lived on a wooden boat and has plenty of knowledge and photos so he will make suggestions of further design features as build progresses.

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