The Steamboat Association
of Great Britain

to foster and encourage steam boating and the building, development, preservation and restoration of steam boats and steam machinery

to stimulate public interest
in steam boats
and steam boating

to promote high standards
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Diary of a Steamboater - March

11 Apr 2015 11:29 | Deleted user

During 2015 Philip Webster is giving us a monthly update on his adventures in Banjo (a bit late this month due to a forgetful webmaster):



A 'bewtiful' spring day  to start the month. With two guests, making a total of six plus one small dog, made a full load for our second 'live' test run up river to Surlingham. Andy, our once a year guest had just returned from New Zealand, where he had travelled on a 'real' steamship. He had also learned how to guarantee another trip in Banjo by observing that Beryl (the engine) runs much smoother than last year.


Friday the …............................................................! Whilst not being the slightest bit superstitious these  special days seem to clock an extra tally of woes. Before we had started, George, our No. 2 phoned to say he had had a tumble, nothing broken, the missed day's steaming hurting as much as the bruises. On arrival at moorings, plan 'A' had to be cancelled as the water had turned into mud. We had planned to go down river then up the Chet to 'Lim's' for fish and chips, the best in Broadland, but floatation did not happen until eleven thirty. Option No. 2, another nice meal at Surlingham.



'Gremlinity' did not end there of course. The leisurely lunch allowed the fire to burn out , the rekindled job lasting to a mile from home, then fading miserably. Frantic stoking beat the tide and rising head wind, just averting a night in the reeds. By the time we had docked we had a lovely fire, then triumph of the day, my modification worked!


The fire grate is round and in three sections. The half moons used to fall off the support ring when dumping the fire, so I have welded on two pegs to each to locate behind the support ring. The centre section now lifts on it's own, the fire neatly extinguished in the ash pan.

We must go down to Lim's again
For fish and chips and peas
With just a little salt perhaps
No vinegar for me please

The Grenlins must like chippys too
They could not find bad things to do
Accept to pull the clouds across
To keep the eclipse from our eyes



Last Friday in the month and the sick bay is bulging! In spite of the lack of crew, No.1 helped me clean the tubes. 35 hrs. steaming with lots of Cyprus logs, although 2yrs. Old, were very sticky up the flue.

Cruising along at six knots we had good feed pressure and a bit of vacuum, but at 3knots, as we crawled up the Chet, the feed was a bit below par and the vacuum likewise. The drive ratios had been altered to quieten the feed pump and 'test' the vacuum pump capability. The ratios have now been restored to last year's spec..

Whilst admiring my handiwork a voice over my shoulder enquired 'is that a crack line on that fitting'? Sure enough there was a line, my new torch illuminated a groove in the metal. Not a crack, it looks like an attack with a grinder! This 1/2” T piece has been fitted on the infeed water for the last 20yrs. ! It has been replaced with a new one. Another pair of eyes are always useful.

We did get the 'BIG' whistle to sing eventually, but is way out of character and will move on to a ship equal to it's size. Now that all others have aligned their clocks,i.e. Banjo Steam Time, we can look forward to some longer trips. Chris has discovered a new curry mine near the limit of navigation, that's a definite target.


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