S/L Pegasus Ship's Log: 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 8:22 PM:

Most of prep work for impending steamboat regatta done but still more to do come the dawn. I'm creating this log on the laptop today because the numerous docs called žshipslog.docÓ seem to date from years gone by; don't seem to have found any data in laptop relating to '05 yet.. Anyway..

Work completed to date:


When wrapper was removed it was revealed that the entire forward section of 1Ó thick insulation was gone, no doubt shot out the stack over various regattas. Decided the best course of action was to order fresh FiberFrax (which now costs over $400 a box with HazMat fees!!) and make a new section for forward and for aft. I did this months ago but the work didn't get done until yesterday.

Monday Richard and I used the pressure washer and blasted the shit out of the boiler, but we decided about halfway thru the process that there was just no hope for it and we undid all of the plumbing and removed boiler from shell to get at all the bits. Pressure washing removed quite a bit of soot (turning us both into spotted slobs!) but not all: there's some stuff on the top 6Ó or so of the inner row of water tubes, where they meet with the main steam drum, that is covered with some sort of gunk that can't be removed with pressure washer. Suspect it's creosote that's turned into some sort of crummy lookinng ceramic and there's just no way to get it off short of bead blasting the whole thing. That'll have to wait for time and tide; i.e. next year and a fatter wallet.

After tackling the pressure vessel I used the pressure washer to tackle the wrapper, which has seen better days: one grate bar has come unwelded at one end and several other ones are somewhat warped. Much evidence of rust within, too. After pressure washing we left the wrapper on its side to dry overnight.

Tuesday I tackled the inside of the wrapper with the air grinder, using #36 grit twistloc sanding disks and the wire wheel wherever possible, including around the rim to remove traces of various year's accumulated gasket goo which had been used to seal up around the somewhat inadequate fireproof gasket rope, after it was also removed. I also used a grinding disk to remove the angle bracket that Vern had welded in place many moons ago to hold the insulation against the forward end of the wrapper. I repainted the angle iron as best I could with high temp BBQ paint and then set about to making replacement insulating panels. The good news is that the new formulation is much less odious to work with than the old stuff. Once I got the panels cut and fitted Richard used a hole saw by hand to make cutouts where pipes need to pass thru. I welded on a new bit of angle bracket to hold the new insulation in place. I also used the step drill to enlarge the holes in the inner and outer wrappers so that there was more freedom of movement for the lifting lugs that need to be used when slinging the boiler around on the hoist. Richard sorted out the check valves and had 'em both clattering right proper by day's end. I managed to get a few more things done including:

-Bent slop pump pickup tube to other side of oilpan so that tube wouldn't have such a long and indirect route to pump.

-Put in new hose to connect slop pump to pickup tube

-Got engine dropped into boat and got prop shaft snugged up to it with just a little bit of wiggle room at the lovejoy coupling.

-Removed the throttle rod support, got most of the old flat black paint off with the wire wheel and shot a coat of primer on it (last time I didn't bother and used high-temp flat black, which made it invisible and easy to bump at night).

-Used the wire wheel to clean all of the rust off of the stack extension and shot a coat of high-temp paint onto it.


Wednesday was HOT! So hot in fact that we took a siesta mid-day to escape the heat. It began with me spraying a coat of žsafety yellowÓ paint onto the now-dry primer on the throttle rod support. After that Richard and I made a trip to Malm to get rope insulation and fluffy stuff to fill gaps in holes that pipes stuck thru. When we got back Todd and Fran were here with Baxter and Lattimore, so Melanie had fun with her pals. Fran set to work cleaning the shop and, in the time he was here, he cleaned my totally grubby lathe to the point where it was absolutely spotless, then he cleaned the mill, the bandsaw and the grinding area. After this I set him the task of timing the valves on the Swan, which included using Loctite between the pairs of jam nuts to prevent the problem encountered last year, (i.e. pairs of nuts moving together, even tho jammed against one another and pinching the D-valves, which caused the engine's efficiency to plummet).

With Richard's help I replaced all of the plumbing on the boiler, using elephant snot on pipe threads and taking time to clean all mating surfaces of unions. A bit of bending was needed to get the main steam line superheater pipes parallel but I decided to use it again due to lack of proper fittings to plumb up replacement that got partially made yesterday (went to Sebastopol Bearing with two lengths of ĹÓ o.d. thinwall stainless tube to have 'em use their high tech bender to make U-bends. When the work was done it was evident that they had used a hand bender and done a crappy job; I said thanks and took 'em home. They didn't have stainless flare nuts so I said screw it.). I gave Richard the wrong stuff to adhere the insulating rope to the wrapper and, after an hour, it was still gooey (still gooey tonight too!). Ah well. Gave him some RTV for plan B and by evening it had set up somewhat. While Richard dealt with the rope I sheared the metal, got it bent and then welded gussets into the corners to form a new seamless ash pan. I made this one about 3/8Ó smaller in x and y, per Richard's request, so that it would not snag on the wrapper any more when time comes to pull it out. Warping from heat had caused the old one to do this and one presumes the new one will warp as well. I used thicker gauge material on this pan, too. Got the boiler slung into the boat during the hottest part of the day (it was definitely hotter than yesterday too!) using the tractor I hooked up the trailer and moved boat forward so we could lift the boiler and drop it into the boat. When first lifting boiler I positioned my right hand the wrong way on the hook and managed to tear up the part between thumb and index finger; fortunately my other hand had the control and I quickly reversed the lift and got untangled. Some blood, much pain but I pressed on and got the boiler into the boat with Richard's assistance.

Thursday was HOTTER than Wednesday!! Richard had a bellyache and was really under the weather. I had a really hard time coping with the heat: sweat kept dripping in my eyes and I had a devil of a time staying hydrated. We both wound up taking breaks, him for nausea relief and me for heat recuperation. The days when we could bust our asses on something like this are over and I don't want to do any more all-nighters to get a project ready 'on time' for anything. Had thought that we could launch before noon, then before sunset then finally decided if I could just get the damned thing there before midnight we'd be getting somewhere. Very hot: 90 degrees and very humid. No shade either, as the boat canopy had disintigrated this past winter and I had given the support structure away in anticipation of a promised raise that I had planned to turn into a sheltering carport with integral hoist. Raise didn't happen and there we were out in the sun. Shit. Managed to get all sorted out and at 7:15 PM Richard lit the match. It only took 6 minutes to lift the needle off of the pin, even with the low fire he had built for driveway system testing: woohoo!

Stuff accomplished Thursday:

-All plumbing back in place; had a few weepers when boiler got up around 20psi but nothing to cause worry.

-While Richard rested mid-afternoon I went out and cashed my paycheck, then spent it on gas, new reciever hitch mount for trailer hitch ball and new taillights for trailer. Didn't finish trailer lights until later in the day when heat had diminished to bearable. Lights were same kind as before, including wiring color matches. Made the connections with crimp-on butt connectors this time, eschewing solder and heat shrink due to time crunch.

-Verified operation of handpump and check valves

-Found a small battery that may work to run night lights; packed it and a charger in the tool duffel.

-Packed every stick of firewood I could find; didn't have adequate boxes so just piled it in the bow and along sides of boiler. I hope we have enough..

-Put 2 remaining load binders on stern to attach it to trailer; one fell apart in my hands but there was a new spare. Must remember to replace that brand with more substantial ones at first opportunity: the quality of material in the ribbons is dreadful.

-Liberated whistle from flame tooter and got the worst of the black removed using some scotchbrite with thin oil, with the tooter chucked in the lathe.

-Packed all the tools on the workbench; hopefully didn't forget anything essential.

-Packed the canopies after verifying that I had enough hitch pins to fasten them to the deck stanchions. Note: the canopies are beyond dreadful: must replace 'em asap, money permitting. Must remember to take photos of other canopy schemes this trip and see if I can find anything that's adaptable to my situation.

Stuff I FORGOT to pack:

Richard forgot:


Judy forgot:

Shopping list for today:

Friday, September 22, 2006, 8:13 AM:

--Have been updating log for a spell. Am fairly certain I've left out big chunks of stuff we got done, but I'll insert them as they spring to mind. There was a distinct smell of burning wood around 4:AM this morning but have no idea whether that means brush fire or steamboat with something left smouldering that lit off in the wind. Right hand sore, not so much where I mashed it as where typing causes me pain in the back and palm. It was tremendously windy all night long and still is. Putting up canopies will be a real adventure.

Truck still needs to be uncoupled from boat but that can't happen until after canopies are attached. Truck will be used to get trailer to top of launching area, where I can safely attach rudder and verify steering is working correctly. Then I can detatch and bring truck back to cabin to finish unloading stuff. Hoping that, despite weatherman's prediction of a 'warming trend' that we escape the worst via wind if not actual cooling. Hope wind moderates a bit; it's a bitch to steer that boat with the wind pushing on the canopies

--Time now: 8:29 AM; gong down to truck to bring up breakfast stuff and whatever else I can carry. Wind is howling and cabin is shaking!

8:48 AM: Went to the office and got us slip #3, which means we'll have afternoon shade fairly early compared to other locations. There's a row of monster party barges sunward and they will contribute to the shade equation too. Not so far to hump supplies this year: good news.

Had a look at the boat: last night's journey here was completely uneventful: no highway onramp dramas, zero traffic on 12: very nice. Today the boat is full of leaves! Must get the bulk of 'em out before launching. Grabbed the charger, the small battery, the voltmeter and the muffins and hustled back to the cabin. Won't begin to thinkabout launching until Richard is compost mentis. Talked to him briefly and he says he's feeling much better: good news all round.

--And lest I forget: in the 'some kind of wonderful' department Christina told me yesterday that Judy had paid down the credit card debt to the tune of $1,000 without a word to me! Yep I picked the right woman to be sure! J Debt is still huge ($23,000 on 3 cards) but it's really nice to know it's not only not getting any worse, but slowly getting better. Maybe come December T-F will have a little extra to give out and we'll be able to make it to the end of the extra year without depleting Mom's inheritance to zero.

--Time: 2:38 PM: just back from launching, followed by hot dogs and gabbing with Pete and rePete about everything from flash steam model hydros to biodiesel mfg methods. Ran into JW and Steve Harcourt as well as other familiar faces along the way. Have a few weepers but nothing major wrong with boat. Bilge is dry

Monday, September 25, 2006, 8:04 AM:

--Thoughts a jumble as expected by now; let me see what I can recall. Yesterday I took a ride up Georgiana with Larry Cardoza firing; managed to keep something like 90psi the whole way. Did the same thing later in the day with Eugene firing and he managed to keep the stack temp almost higher than I would have preferred, but we kept the good 90psi thruout and did some nice rapid cruising. At one point I could no longer count rpm, which I estimate was around 450rpm, so we were flying. One thing I noticed, back at the dock, was that the prop shaft was warm around the shaft log seal; I'm thinking that the packing wasn't being as lubricated as it should and that maybe I should consider adding a means of injecting oil into that area. Other notable events:

Morning after the picnic run I tightened the forward packing nut two bar holes and I managed to settle the aft nut into the one bar hole I had tried to turn it the previous day. However at end of Sunday engine was again leaking and spitting enough to fill the quart jar twice.

--Had pleanned to do a night run last night and had the little gel cell battery all charged up and had verified that it ran the lights (very well too!), then Richard and I had a simultaneous 'ehhh, fuck it' moment and went back to hang with the gang around the Margarita machine.

--Judy and I did a little work on the 'other' captain's log this morning: woohoo!

Got a small collection of skeeter bites last night (they were really swarming!) but not as bad as I had feared, thanx to covering up some skin and a vigorous swatting regime.

After sitting in my captain's chair for a few days I've developed a blister on my butt! High priority item is a more comfy saddle; one that can be tilted and one that's a little taller: I find that my right knee in particular doesn't like to stay bent for very long before pain sits in. I've got a silly idea for an improved plinth and I want to get a new seat that's wide enough to get Judy on it with me. I want onee that extends further forward too; i.e. one that captures backs of legs and not just edge of ass cheeks, so to speak. Spreading the growing load is probably the best long term solution, eh?

After talking to everyone I'm beginning to think I might just have the ability to build a 3 cylinder poppet valve steam engine after all. Da plan is to get something to the point that it can be critiqued by the experts next year, then I'll be able to correct my mistakes and get it set to rights for the following year. Kinda long-term but then I've been dreaming of this silly idea for a decade. Time to cut metal. It's gratifying to know that Spurlock doesn't have all the Bohaboy knowledge squirreled away from we the people after all and I plan to put what I've seen here to good use, bwahaha.

Night of picnic J and I hopped a ride with Andy Van Leunan in his wonderful launch žFlyerÓ and boy does it ever! Went up the Georgiana with one similarly designed boat name of ?? . Got up past Third boat we saw up waaay past Oxbow at a couple of prominent silos (no moon; just starlight: very nice!) was Gerry Blaine so we had a bit of a race back.

Bruce Heppler from NorCal brought along a hand cannon! A replica of the starting gun used for the Great Race with Jessie James last yr. Very kewl: he's made a bunch of 'em and is offering them for a 'steamboater's discount'. Hope to get one when my finances improve somewhat. Worth owning one if only for the skull-and-bones logo on it, heh.

Have now talked with 5 people about putting more than one prop on boat, including getting some more info from Bart about cavitation on Turbinia. Have decided the experiment I've planned is minimally invasive and will take a whack at it at the first opportunity, bwahaha. Dick thinks it won't work; Bart thinks I'll go slower, Pete Sr and Jim Tangeman think it's worth a try and Larry kinda went hmmmm. Heh. Had a nice discussion with Bart about prop geometries and he says that really high speed props aren't nearly as sail-like; i.e. blades with a shorter cord are idea.

The Swine has had its last season in the boat: something's gotta change next year or the year after; what else might be available that would make do until poppet valve engine comes along?

Must do a library, rather than google search to find out all there is to know about Bohaboy

Must contact Funnel to ping Adrian Thompson

Richard sez look in SB&MSL for other Bohably ideas that might be adaptable to the boat.

Met many very neat folks; saw many new boats, many old friends. Had a couple of great gabs with Andy Philbrick and others.

Found out from Dick that there are now several issues of a new steamboating zine floating around; gotta get me a sub asap.

Canopies are toast, but the parrot Judy added was a big hit! Da plan is to remove internal flat braces and to build another set using maybe aluminum over an inner steel frame that can be swung aside.

Dick brought me a couple of great printouts of whistle design specs so the calliope project has a future. Stuff was supplied by a guy who arrived late in a very neat and silly looking gasoline powered sternwheeler. Turns out he's a former Junkyard Wars vet and I would have liked to have chatted with him but he escaped B4 I got my chance!

--Two boxes of wood left to burn, as well as some larger stuff that was too big to burn on a short cruise last night, so hope to burn thru all of the above before returning home this afternoon.

Pete Jr sez my firewood is still too big and that I should nip the lengths into thirds. Hmmm.

Grate needs to be rebuilt; must make it a drop-in unit too instead of one that's integral to the firebox as it now is.. Must remember to re-insulate wrapper B4 next run and must take time to weld up cracks between sheets from which it is assembled

Must remember to bring doggy treats to the B&W, too. Gotta keep 'em in my boat as well.

Have to get a larger plastic jar so that packing gland blowby can be drained several times before overfilling.

Weather was perfect!!

Consider disassembling Swan into something that can become an open column engine, then reassemble with closed crankcase with a hot pipe to boil off the water.

Dick's done a great job of repainting my cannon; must get crackin' on building a new carriage for it, to make it really nice..

Must remember to redo the main superheater: gotta find the fittings to finish it.

Must also remember to žshrinkÓ plumbing on main steam line and get rid of the monster union that requires the monster wrench to tighten the monster nut.

Mustn't forget Carpathia! I want Dick to have it and Dick wants me to have it; may have to take it then think about what needs to be done to set it to rights..

Time now: 9:51 AM: gotta start packing, sigh

Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 9:44 AM:

Just got a call from Richard, who made it home safely late last night. His new address is: 879 Fitzgerald Ave Ventura 93003

Other remembered boat observations: Possible cause of some binding: when boat is on trailer it's relatively flat, but when placed in the water it bows a bit due to weight of boiler in center. I'm wonderng if the gap between engine and prop shaft, as seen at cutter bushing, should be set greater on trailer so that the two shafts don't push on each other when the thing's in the water. I heard some distinctive rubber squeaking sounds on several occasions when the engine was ticking over at low rpm; might this have been a symptom?

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