SS Duke of Marlborough

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SS DUKE of MARLBOROUGH

I recently stumbled across the above photo of the steam ship – Duke of Marlborough and knowing nothing about her put a call into Russell Ward aka Mr Steam. The man is never embarrassed to speak so – take it away Russell, WW is all yours…..

“Once, 30+ years ago, I built up a steamboat called “Gypsy”. So pull up a chair, warm yourselves by the fire and I’ll tell you a story which isn’t about “Gypsy” at all, it’s about the “James Torrey” which became the “Duke of Marlborough”.

But, through “Gypsy”, I met one Lloyd Lewis of Lake Tarawera. He was an ardent enthusiast for steamy things (who wouldn’t be – living on Lake Tarawera.) Lloyd had made a steamer up out of a hull I had sold him a year or so previously and really had the steamboat bug badly. As the late Pete Culler (he wrote a lot about boats and he was a wise man) said “It’s awful, don’t go near it or you are hooked.” And you can’t argue with facts like that, folks. Suffice to say Lloyd got steam enginitis in a big way.

He had Wellington naval architect Bruce Askew design a hull for a 36’ steam vessel following the style of the early 1900 steam boats The steel hull was built in 1987 by Gordon Clark and Brian Starrock in New Plymouth and shipped to Rotorua for Lloyd to complete. He did a fine aesthetic job. She was launched as “James Torrey” and he used her to take fishing tours on the lake. The lads appreciated the warmth from the boiler at times.

Lloyd built the engine – an English design by A.A. Leake and a dashed good looker it is -a traditional open compound, driving a 28” by 42” propeller giving a service speed of 6 knots. A piston valve is fitted to the high pressure cylinder and a balanced slide valve on the low pressure one. It has cross-head driven twin feed pumps and air pump. Exhaust is through a feed-water heater to a keel condenser. There you feel a lot better for knowing that.

But to sum up, working on salt water, you have to condense the exhaust steam or you run out of feedwater real quick. Besides, condensing gives you a useful addition to the power through the vacuum created which, in essence, sucks the piston while the steam pushes.

The steam is provided by a Kingdon type boiler (1900’s Simpson Strickland design) built by Langley Engineering in the U.K and, since you didn’t really want to know, It is a vertical fire-tube type, 34 inches high by 30 inches diameter over lagging, has 3.4 square feet of grate area and has 84 square feet of heating surface. She burns coal and there is nothing better.

Lloyd had quite job actually getting Ed Langley to dispatch the finished boiler although it had been long since paid for. Ed had had his delivery problems over the years…. Legend has it that, in frustration (remember communication was all letters and phone calls that had to be booked well ahead in those prehistoric times); Lloyd flew over to the UK and turned up at the works just ahead of the receiver. Seeing the likelihood of his investment coming to nothing, he took matters into his own hands and loaded the boiler up himself. Lloyd just wasn’t the sort of man to argue with and got his boiler. It is a very handsome job.

Anyway after a number of years, Lloyd tired of his steamboat and Roger Frazer took her to Picton. He renamed her “Duke of Marlborough” and did a lot of restoration which is a credit to him. He has been taking passengers out of Picton for some time. I’m sure the passengers appreciate the boiler’s warmth even more that the Lake Tarawera types.”

I understand she may be for sale………

WoodenBoat Magazine Interview #3 

This week WB editor Matt Murphy interviews Harold Burnham in a live discussion of how, for nearly three decades, he has been instrumental in revitalizing the shipbuilding and maritime culture of his region by designing, building, and rehabilitating traditional vessels for cultural tourism. Harold is an 11th-generation shipwright, and has, at various times, also been a sawyer, mariner, model maker, and sail maker.

Seriously Cool Steam Boat

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Seriously Cool Steam Boat

The above steam boat, owned by Hamilton engineer, Chris Cooper recently popped up on a fb post of Geoff Lewis’s.
All I know, but I can hear Russell Ward duping as you read this, is that Chris rebuilt the boat from a wreck. It has a tripe-expansion engine, in my ignorance I hope it is coal or wood fired and not diesel – I would love this as a retirement boat on a lake…………..
Hopefully we will find out more about her.
AND WOODYS WE CAN GO BOATING AGAIN – NO PRIZE FOR GUESSING WHAT I WILL BE DOING THIS AFTERNOON
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Woody Photo Gallery

Duke of Marlborough

Antares 3

Arima

Moana

Shalom

Woody Photo Gallery
The selection of woody photos above was sent in by Bryce Strong, details and links to previous WW stories below. I hate Digital dates on photos but it is a very simple way to record when the photo was taken – two are dated 2013, interesting to see how the vessels have faired in the last 13 years.
The top photo of the steamboat – Duke of Marlborough, is a newbie to me. I’m looking forward to Russell Ward chipping in with her history 😉
Antares – built in the 1950’s by Supreme Craft. At the time the above photo was taken she was owned by Bryce’s brother-in-law, Ron Phillips
Arima – built in1953 by Colin Wild

https://waitematawoodys.com/2018/12/08/arima/

Moana – built in c.1939 by Sam Ford
Shalom – built in 1973 by TK Atkinson
Anyone Recall Sutton MalcolSham & Co
I have been contacted by Richard Winthrop looking for information on a boat builder named Sutton Malcolm & Co. Ltd of Mt Roskill, Auckland. Many years ago Richard had a Mason Clipper that had the sticker below on it.
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SS Mary Rose

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SS Mary Rose

I know two steam boats in one week, Russell Ward will be beside himself 🙂
The photos above of Mary Rose were sent in by Alan Sexton, he spotted her at the Sandspit Yacht Club ramp during the week.

Mary Rose resides in Wanganui these days. The owner told Alan that she is/was one of 2 built for a campground at Ngongotaha circa 1946.

Any ‘steamheads’ able to enlighten us more on Mary Rose?

SS Alice

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Steamboat Alice

If we believe her trade listing (thanks Ian McDonald) the 26’ steamboat Alice was built in 1879.  Between 1991 and 2000 she underwent a total rebuild in Taupo, where she still resides.

In private use now, she once was in survey, doing tours of Lake Taupo.

Her current zoom zoom is via ‘hybrid’ set-up i.e. a combination of steam (25hp) and electric. The boiler is wood fired and I can just imagine the wonderful smell of ti tree burning as you cruised the lake – in my eyes a low cost floating bach at the lake 🙂