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Robert B.

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  • Gender
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  • Occupation
    Geologist.
  • Boat Name
    SARA
  • Boat Location
    Ely

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  1. The knees on Sara are thick with paint, I might have a session with some stripper and sand paper to see if anything is revealed... What is the history of Ice Dragon? We would like some more pictures if you have them. for comparison purposes you understand!
  2. The 1850's iceboat Ross can be seen here. Whilst the overall shape of the hull is quite different (more of an ice 'ram') the method of construction, with alternating doubler plates and frames, is very familiar. I do wonder if Sara, Ross and others represent a transitional period in which the builders of the day were still following work patterns established in a previous era of wooden craft construction. It is clear that she was constructed by a yard whose expertise was in boats rather than, say, boilers. I assume the frames have been delivered from the mill as long straight forms to be cut to length and bent on site? By my reckoning there are 35 metal plates that form her hull plus 20 frames and 20 doubling straps in her 30 foot length. The curves in the bow are quite complex and I assume the plates were offered up to check the fit at intervals whilst being rolled. Ultrasound shows them to be thinner in the middle and thickest at the edges, which makes sense as that is were they are drilled and held by the rivets. Talking of rivets, I notice that we have two varieties. A conical headed flat topped sort that I assume is of later origin for use with riveting guns/presses, and a hammered flat version that are probably original to her construction. These latter rivets only survive in areas along the bilge well below the waterline. Given that iceboats had a propensity for wasting rivets due to ice abrasion this probably represents her last major overhaul. I had noticed that the margins of the plates are rather ragged. The blade used appears to have been an 1 1/2" inches wide. Robert
  3. Hello everyone, I spent a lot of time squeezed and contorted into various small spaces below decks yesterday whilst I tightened our stern gland and sponged out a quantity of greasy water from the bilge. I spent some time examining Sara's construction and it occurred to me that her frames are not as thoroughly fixed as the doubling straps where adjacent hull sheets are abutted and riveted together. You can see a frame in the image below with two such straps either side, this area being in the curved butty style stern. I always assumed that the frames would have been used to form the curve of the hull first with the hull plates applied over them (as in conventional ship building), but in places the frames do not conform too closely to the hull - at their lowermost ends I can usually get a finger between them and the baseplate. Looking closely and the image of the bare hull it is clear that none of the frames form a continuous a piece - they are more akin to an elongated knee as might be found in a conventional work boat. The hull plates are sandwiched between these extended areas and the base plate, showing that they were already in place before the frames were secured. I take it then that Sara was first laid down as the base plate (in four sections) with the one piece stem and stern, then the hull plating was rolled and riveted into place. The substantial frames then went into the hull, most (but not all) attached to both the hull sides and baseplate. It seems a backwards way to do things and there must have been a reason for it, but I can't see it. is this the way a conventional work boat would have been built? Are the frames purely intended to limit the spreading of the hull in the event that any loads were carried? Or are they to maintain hull shape when riding up onto (and plunging through) ice? They don't seem to have much to do with re-enforcement as there are none in the bow where the brunt of the ice breaking loads would have been borne. I think I'll crack open another can on this fine evening whilst I ponder things... Robert
  4. Your water may also come in from the stern gland - the point where your propeller shaft exits the hull - if it is worn. Usually this consists of a flat metal plate with a set of bolts that can be used to tighten up any slack. I had to tighten ours yesterday to sort out a slow but persistent drip. I've attached a picture of ours and the greaser tap that lubricates it - putting in a couple of turns of grease may help if this is your issue. In your picture it will be attached to the end of the black tube exiting the top of your stern gland. Our engine is also an air-cooled Lister and your layout is very similar.
  5. I'm not entirely sure what the 'NA' in your designation refers to. Admiralty pennant designations begging with 'N' were reserved for minesweepers, whilst the suffix 'A' was awarded to coastal motor boats (small wooden gun/torpedo motor launches) so I suspect these probably don't refer to an admiralty designation. Maybe 207A is the original builders hull number? There is a lighter X-207 (X= special craft) on the list, but this refers to a motorised vessel built to land troops and supplies on beaches in the Gallipoli campaign. Admiralty supporting and harbour service vessels of the first world war can be found here, although this list is woefully incomplete for minor vessels like your barge. unfortunately the few YC service barges listed don't have any dimension particulars, making them difficult to compare. Section 52 deals with lighters and barges, although the list is very short compared to the numbers that must have been in use. There are some internal photgraphs of the hold in the listing for YC74. Do they compare well with your example? Robert
  6. Admiralty lighters were usually given a harbour service 'Yard Craft' designation and number e.g. YC XX, where x is the vessels individual number. YC74 is currently up on the 'duck and is an interesting comparison, with exception of the timber rubbing strakes the hull profile is very similar, although I expect these craft were turned out to standardized admiralty designs. YC74 is said to have been built in 1909, although I don't know how this has been determined. I've had a look through (incomplete) listings of admiralty auxiliary craft of the first world war but a YC207 is not present. There are however other examples in the YC 2XX range - Lighter YC 296 for example is listed as a 'boom defence' vessel and probably supported anti submarine nets across a harbour entrance. Numbers were allocated seemingly at random.
  7. Back to the original topic, I assume these are the 2nd style with round ears? Believed to be from a Bantock boat operated by them on behalf of the GWR.
  8. We were after comprehensive cover. I'll have another attempt this weekend, survey in hand...
  9. It is what I was told after a follow up call to requesting a quote online. The fellow at the other end held the line for a minutes whilst he confirmed the age restriction with the insurance company at the other end. I was a little annoyed as they insured her under the previous owner. Do you have an existing policy with them for Flamingo? Regards, Robert
  10. Yes indeed, we are regulars at Prickwillow and often use the adjacent moorings. It's a convenient spot to take visitors on a relaxed afternoon jaunt with a picnic. She is isn't she. But Shush!! Don't go telling her, she's already a little full of herself. What she really wants is to be a real boat and go to sea. Not sure I'm brave enough to cross the Wash in her though. She certainly wouldn't pass any modern stability assessments. Our next outings will probably be around the Cambridgeshire lodes. I'm toying with the idea of Soham and Cottenham lodes, the former should be doable if there isn't too much weed, the latter might need reconnoitring in the kayak to see what the depths are. We won't be able to wind in either so it might mean hauling her out by hand... but it would add some scarcely used waterways to our list.
  11. Well, time passes differently in the fens... I'm afraid I have yet to find the menu option to turn off the stamps. For Easter we set forth from Ely and made our way to the Wissey, overnighting in Hilgay after a five hour cruise. The following morning saw us continue on to Stoke Ferry via the massive marble run of Wissington sugar factory. The better half is convinced that the narrow channel belongs to the set of a Mad Max film, where overhanging gnarled trees grasp and claw after after you whilst you glide pass the towering mass of bridges, gantries, cranes and pipes. Aside from Wissington the Wissey is very much the prettiest of the east anglian rivers in our view, with its narrow tree lined banks giving it the feel of a rural canal. After Stoke ferry we returned to the Ouse and made our way to The Ship at Brandon Creek, the staccato bark of the Lister reverberating off the high banks as we opened it up on the long river drag. Dinner was a chicken and leek pie whilst watching the sun set, a very satisfying end to a seven hour day. After a night moored adjacent the A10 we were eager to get away and cruised slowly down Brandon creek at a little over idle, threading our way through the long lines of moored boats. Eventually we crept past my favourite building in all the fens, a dilapidated clapboard farm house that I've been watching decay for the last few years. Grebe and swan nests were much in evidence before we moored up at Hockwold fen, our favourite overnighting spot. You can sit on the bank in the evening and gaze out across the rushes listening to the lapwings and geese. In the half light one could almost convince oneself that you had travelled back a hundred years. That is until a brace of fighters take off from nearby Lakenheath and scream their way into the north sky. This morning we had a couple dozen heifers on the bank gazing through and licking the windows. We took the hint and cast off, slowly pottering back to Brandon Creek EA moorings where we sit now. We took advantage of the warm day to scrub and varnish her offside. This may have been a mistake, I'll have to go out shortly and peel off all the flies that have landed on the drying woodwork before the second coat... Hope you all have a wonderful Easter, Robert, Storm and SARA
  12. Greetings to the forum members and their boats from myself, narrow boat Sara, and my young crew. Spring has come in fits and starts here in the fens but it was finally time for our first outing of the year. Actually, the crew wanted to go out last weekend but I felt the day would be much better spent scrubbing my covers and ropes where they had gone a little green over winter - one must look ones best. So I refused to start. Young master was a little ungracious and called me a few choice names whilst he hunted around for that voltmeter he remembered buying last year and instead found the two drills he had no recollection of and three separate, half full, tubs of varnish that no one admitted to ever seeing before. Eventually it was deduced that my starter battery had not made it through the harsh winter. There may have been one or two dark mutterings about refitting a starting handle to my shiny green engine... Yesterday therefore I was treated to many gifts - a new starter battery (black - just my colour!), a new leisure battery and various bits and bobs to encourage the magic electrons to nest and stay put. Young master had only intended to change the starter battery (I'll be an hour or so dear) but then the good ideas kept coming and before he realises it six hours have gone by and he's relocated a bunch of cables, fuse boxes and chargers into one of my little cupboards. I didn't mind - it kept him busy and out of mischief, and the look on his face when he realised the mother-in-law had arrived was priceless. Given that they had made such an effort (and young master had a rather sore back from a day spent bent over the battery hole) I decided that the time had come for a little jaunt. When I was young (and queen Vic still on the throne!) I relied on a horse to get me around, but now I have an engine of my own. The Lister Petter caught on the button and with a gentle bop-bop-bop we nosed out of the marina on idle and headed off down the Ouse out of Ely and towards the Old West. We passed a few coots and moorhens sat tight on nests and watched the grebes doing their best to woo. A couple of cormorants sat at the waters edge, wings outstretched, as we came past. "I'm a pterodactyl" they cried after us. Eventually we made it to the old West without seeing another boat on the move, where young master decided he was cold and handed the tiller to my young lady, who deftly swept me round the bends whilst he crashed about inside looking for some winter motorcycle gloves. Whilst inside the vents were opened so the Lister Petter could blow warm air into the cabin. It was decided by all that the day was failing to live up to its morning clear blue sky promises. Eventually we moored up at Streatham. Here I am with my young lady. There are only 137 years between us. Give or take. I've forgotten quite when my birthday is. Young master took this naughty photo of my bottom when I wasn't looking. The cheek of it! It turned out he likes watching things go round and around repetitively. I think there might be something wrong with him. This is Streatham Pumping engine, built 1836. This bit went up and down. Young lady humoured him. Here is a picture he took of me from the top of the engine house. The clouds have started to gather in the distance. The crew enjoyed their visit very much, but after a few hours decided it was time to head back before the weather caught us. At least you can see it coming out here in the fens. On our return we bumped into another old lady, Andromeda. Young master says he needs to train his wife in how to use the viewfinder so that, next time, she gets the bows into shot too. Our attempt to outrun the approaching weather failed and Young Master enjoyed the hail. It passed through though and the sun was weakly shining by the time we returned to Ely. They've put my covers back on now and I'm all snug. Everything went well today and I was a grand old girl, so they promise we can go out for a long Easter adventure. SARA
  13. Thought I'd resurrect this thread rather than start afresh. I had a chat with GJW this afternoon and was categorically told that they no longer insure vessels more than 60 years old. With Sara being up to a century beyond their cut-off they were regrettably unable to make an offer. I'm waiting to hear back from Aston Lark/Euromarine. RB
  14. Currently have a boat moored there, you can PM me if you have any specific questions. I have some thoughts but not for a public forum. Regards, Robert
  15. Clypeus is moored adjacent Sara and I'm afraid I must admit the odd covetous glance... A lovely boat to admire, I wish you well whether you decide to sell her or not.
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