Today’s photos of the steam boat Kotare come to us from John Wicks. I’ll let John tell the story.
“On my way back from our “walkies”, approaching the launching ramp (Hobsonville-nee-Westpark Marina), the dog’s ears pricked up, then I heard some hissing and farting. As the ramp came into view, I could see steam and smoke rising, and Lo! and behold – the little steam launch Kotare which been launched from her trailer.
By the time I got down onto the pontoon, she was full steam ahead and straining at her mooring ropes, smoke and steam everywhere. Glorious!
Her crew was fairly busy fiddling with valves, levers and suchlike, but I did learn that she was preparing for a steam meet at Greenhithe this Saturday, and a few other details;
- She’s a woody, quite new, strip planked and glassed.
- Her owner/skipper (that’s him inboard working on “stuff”) built the whole thing, boat, engine et al.
- The engine is a 2-cylinder double-expansion one, plus she has an auxiliary electric motor tucked away aft.
- Just now they’re using diesel to heat the boiler, but they’re turning vegetarian in the near future.
The other bloke in the grey shirt is part of the outfit, though I’m not sure just what part. The couple on the pontoon, I’m in the dark shirt and white cap, her in the orange T-shirt, just turned up purely by chance – in the neighborhood, came down to have a look at the marina. They’re from the West Coast and – would you believe – they have a small steamer on Lake Brunner! Spooky, possums!
Having been warned many years ago that steam is almost instantly addictive, I walked away before harm came to me, and took the broadside shot from behind the safety of a metal fence.”
Russell Ward Input – Famous wooden boat exponent Pete Culler said “Stay away from steam, it’s very addictive -one sniff and you’re hooked.” He was an oars and sail man though and he’s right.
The Auckland Steam Engine Society is meeting at Rame Road reserve Greenhithe Saturday 24 March 2018. High tide 1.30 or so. Fill yer lungs and feast yer ears and eyes.
Regrettably the steam event Saturday 24 March has been cancelled because of the adverse weather. We’ve never had a steamer melt in the rain and our fearless leader Alan will agree that damp days are often the best!
One of the best boating days ever 🙂 Alan
Input from Daniel Hicks –
The boat was built by Paul Eaton, and is based on a Simpson Strickland launch of around 1900. Selway Fisher in the UK drew the plans, and it is listed in their catalogue as the 23′ Golden Bay design. Paul started by building the engine, a John York designed compound (3 + 5.25 * 3.75) from a castings kit from Elliott Bay Steam Launch Co in the US. Paul then built the hull and had a boiler designed (based on a steam car boiler) and the pressure vessel professionally made. The whole lot has come together over 17 years!
Kotare has a number of interesting features, as mentioned she is both a steam and electric vessel, being able to be propelled by either form of power, or propelled by steam with the electric motor charging the batteries. Another unusual innovation is the fact she is fitted with a Rice type propeller nozzle!
Yes Kotare is complicated, but Paul wanted to try lots of things out, and have lots of back up systems in place. The machinery may appear to take up a lot of the boat, but it always does in a steamboat, and Kotare is better than some, she just appears worse because of the location of the electric drive system directly behind the steam engine.
Wednesday was launch day, and I was there as I’d offered to help and provided the tow vehicle, my only claims to fame on this one. She floated very close to her marks, she steamed well and goes fairly well, despite a number of snagging issues being apparent. A pretty successful first day out, and superb effort from someone who hasn’t built a boat or a steam engine before!
Update 27-03-2018 photo ex Alan Good