This page is new on 11 March
2004. More pictures will follow soon
First Steaming: 4th November 2003
John Davis was arriving at about 9am with
the boiler so I made an early start to get the engine up two flights of
stairs from the workshop under the pool. My father, Peter Cowie and
father-in-law Norm Costa arrived about 8am and we dragged the engine on its'
bearers up a wide plank with a boat winch. Once up the stairs it was lifted
with the crane onto its' trolley and wheeled around to the garage via
another short haul up 3 steps.
John had arrived by this time and the
crane was used to lift the boiler off the truck and onto the garage apron.
A fire was lit by Oscar aged 9 who was
tragically too sick to go to school but who had made a remarkable recovery
Steam was raised in short time and the
engine was coupled to the boiler and warmed through. As I hadn't received
the check valves for the feed pumps John had brought a 3/8" Penberthy
injector to feed the boiler.
Once warm I gave the engine about 40lbs
and wound her ahead and astern to clear the condensate. I was not able to
get a revolution out of her and shut down the steam and ensured that there
was no pressure before winding her over with the Barring lever to ensure
that there was no water in the engine.
After about 15 minutes of rocking I was
beginning to get a bit worried and hesitatingly gave her about 60psi with
the HP crank just after TDC.
Away she went!
She answered ahead and astern without
hesitation and ran up to about 400rpm with negligible vibration. After an
hour or so she would run down to about 30psi.
I was VERY pleased!
2nd Steaming 16
The check valves had
arrived and I was keen to run the engine on my own.
A spaghetti network
of pipes surrounded the pumps.
With a full glass in
the boiler in case the pumps did not work I raised steam and got the engine
turning. Once again I was very hesitant with that first rev being concerned
about breaking something (especially the relatively weak LP cylinder
The feed pump
required a squirt from the garden hose to prime it and away it went without
I had reduced the
ram diameter from 1/2" on the drawings to 5/16" according to my calculations
on capacity required (courtesy of an article in the NWSS's journal)
The water level
slowly gains with the pump on.
I had to restrict the inlets of
the auxiliary feed pump and air pump as they tended to knock at any speed.
The aux. pump is 1/2" diameter and the air pump is 1 3/16" diameter and is
not designed to operate on a gut full of water
early December 2003
For a few of my
fathers' friends the engine was steamed again and I had problems with the
feed pump continually requiring priming. Hindsight suggested that I had used
different hose on the inlet side and a hose clip too large that allowed a
small quantity of air in.
4th Steaming: 28
The engine was
steamed for Les Snape our 93 year old ex - neighbour. Les built a number of
steam models in the 1930's and has been very interested in the engine's
progress. Unfortunately he now lives in a nursing home on the other side of
the city and we don't see much of him.
The port side
lagging was fitted and stood up well to the heat.
The engine performed
5th Steaming: 4th
The injector (a new
3/8" Penberthy) had arrived via Santa and John Davis suggested that I should
test everything before the engine's public debut at the 2004 Sydney Classic
and Wooden Boat Festival on March 6th.
Also on test were
the injector plumbing, new blower plumbing, new Boiler Pressure gauge and
plumbing, new funnel uptake, oil boxes and finished timber lagging.
6th Steaming: 6th
& 7th March 2004
The 2004 Sydney
Classic and Wooden Boat Festival: the engine's public debut!
The engine and
boiler were lifted onto the back of my father's utility (one tonne pickup
truck to non - Australians!) and delivered to the National Maritime Museum
in Darling Harbour, Sydney on Friday afternoon and set up on the wharf
adjacent to the HMAS Vampire.
An early start on
Saturday saw the engine plumbed up to the boiler along with Len Lark's 12HP
Vosper Compound on its' first public outing too.
By 9.30 the gates
were open and we had quite a crowd to observe the warm-up procedure and the
I had become a fair
bit more confidant at start up and after warming through for 15 minutes with
the drains open and a few rocks back and forward on the reversing wheel I
shut off the steam, waited for the pressure to drop then gave her a few
turns with the barring lever to ensure that their was no water to stop that
With the HP & IP
drain cocks closed and the HP set to just after TDC I gave her a decent
squirt of steam and away she went. My impulse valve (Mk II! is not an entire
With the exception
of a blocked feed pump check valve giving us a few worried moments (60psi
and low water) and a screw from the reversing nut falling out the engine ran
perfectly. The injector saved the day picking up from as low as 50psi)
attracted a great deal of positive comment and interest with a crowd up to
two and three deep on a few occasions.
The boiler battled a
bit with both engines running. The inexperienced fireman (me) has a lot to
learn! We managed to maintain 90 psi with both engines running for an hour
or so on a few occasions but otherwise pressure would slowly drop to about
55psi and refuse to budge up. With Len's engine shut down we would gradually
gain pressure to about 70 and then it would be 120 in a flash!
As I was trying to
keep the boiler to a maximum of 100psi this necessitated calling on Len's
engine and the injector after which the steam would rapidly drop to 60
The boiler was
operating under severe conditions with both engines drawing steam,
absolutely no boiler lagging, cold feed water and being constantly drenched
In total the engine
ran for about 7 hours with hardly a stop. The boiler consumed a bag and a
half of a combination of briquettes and coke.
Sunday was a repeat
of Saturday but without the pump failure or the loose screw...Just Perfect
A big thanks must go
to Len Lark who offered his assistance for the weekend. Len is a ticketed
steam engine driver and is the regular engineer on the steam yacht "Lady
Hopetoun" fitted with a 260HP Simpson Strickland triple. His advice and
assistance were priceless.
The triple and
boiler at the 2004 Sydney Classic
and Wooden Boat Festival