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doratheexplorer

How fast did flyboats go?

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It was Scott Russell who in his paper to the British Association in 1844, Published in 1845, and available on Google Books, who defined the nature of various waves. In the first part on Waves of Transition he described an event on the canal where a boat (hauled by a pair of horses) stopped and the wave carried on at a rate of 8 -9 mph, which he followed on horseback. The paper as far as I can see does not mention the location.

 

Yet from preceding remarks was a Scottish Waterway, If it was a packet boat travelling at about 10 mph, then the wave speed would be consistent was the travelling speed of a packet boat.

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21 hours ago, Heartland said:

The paper as far as I can see does not mention the location.

The Heriot Watt Mathematics department page about Scott Russell quotes the location:

 

"This event took place on the Union Canal at Hermiston, very close to the Riccarton campus of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh"

 

There is also a feint sketch on that page showing a boat being towed in one direction, and a contraption that appears to be pulling in the opposite direction!

canal0.jpg

Edited by Waterway2go
missed the picture first time

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I would interpret the drawing as a swift packet being pulled by three horses passing a sailing barge travelling in the opposite direction.

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I think it may be a gantry device of some sort (or a geometric resemblance of same) used to transfer the pull from the horses around a pulley, thereby propelling the packet boat toward the bridge and creating a wave of transition on which the packet might (a big might!) travel at some speed.

 

Or possibly not. It is, after all - a sketch. I can do sketches. They don't necessarily relate to reality though!

Edited by Derek R.

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Looking at the sketch, it does deserve further comment Enlarging the feature at the rear the image is:

 

PassageB2.jpg

 

Which is open to interpretation.

 

Regarding the Union Canal Passage boats these travelled the 30 miles from the head of the locks at Falkirk to Port Hopetoun originally in 4 hours. This journey was reduced with the the introduction of new craft in 1832. According to the Scotsman (6th October 1832) a stern wheel paddle steam passage boat, The Edinburgh entered service and was capable of a speed of 6 mph.. A light swift boat, the Velocity also entered service at the same time, both were built by Mr Wilson of Tophill.

 

The Scotsman, on March 1835, noted a revised service where journey between the head of the locks and Port Hopetown, that is the lock free section, was recorded as taking 3 1/2 hours, or at an average of about 8 1/2 Mph. That from Falkirk to Glasgow was recorded as 6 1/2 hours.

 

The horse drawn packet seems to have been the fastest

Edited by Heartland

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I wonder if the gantry and heavy weight might have been a braking device?  The account refers to the boat stopping suddenly to create the soliton wave. Thoughts anyone?

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We experienced a related but different effect a few years ago, almost "Surfing on a Soliton." We came to a shallow stretch of canal (near the top of the Ashby) where anything above tickover speed was usually impossible, but I had forgotten to slow down as we approached it so we had a significant stern wave. It wasn't a breaking wave but would have become one if I'd continued so I suddenly shut off the power. The wave caught me up and lifted the stern; I increased power again and with the increased depth under the prop I was able to supply water to sustain the wave and thus ride on its crest for almost half a mile, travelling at a high speed but generating no wash, with the stern held about a foot higher than the bow.

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17 hours ago, Keeping Up said:

We experienced a related but different effect a few years ago, almost "Surfing on a Soliton." We came to a shallow stretch of canal (near the top of the Ashby) where anything above tickover speed was usually impossible, but I had forgotten to slow down as we approached it so we had a significant stern wave. It wasn't a breaking wave but would have become one if I'd continued so I suddenly shut off the power. The wave caught me up and lifted the stern; I increased power again and with the increased depth under the prop I was able to supply water to sustain the wave and thus ride on its crest for almost half a mile, travelling at a high speed but generating no wash, with the stern held about a foot higher than the bow.

Used to be standard practice to get through bridge holes. 

Edited by Speedwheel

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13 minutes ago, Speedwheel said:

Used to be standard practice to get through bridge holes. 

Just beat me to it

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37 minutes ago, Speedwheel said:

Used to be standard practice to get through bridge holes. 

Yes, it is my usual practice on narrow bridge-holes too. But to hold it for almost half a mile must surely be highly unusual.

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