SS Dancer

SS DANCER 
During the recent Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat show I spotted the steam boat – Dancer, her owner and builder John Olsen supplied the following details. 

Dancer is a 30 foot long steam launch, designed by Peter Sewell and built by John and his wife Diana. The engine is a compound twin, designed by A.A Leak and built by John. The boiler is a 3 drum type.designed by Andre Pointon. (Colonial Iron Works) and also built by John apart from welding by a certified welder. In the top photo, the tender on the Aft deck is a folding dinghy, called Kahikitea and mostly built from that timber.


Dancer is equipped for sleeping aboard, with a head compartment and blackwater tank, a small galley with gas cooker, sink, and fridge, and solar panels on the cabin top to provide electric power. The boiler is fired with diesel. Myself I like wood/coal fired but her diesel set up must make life a lot simpler, and we like that 🙂

TUI – Clinker Steam Boat

SS TUI – Kauri Clinker Steam Boat
It thought that Tui’s 15’ kauri clinker hull was built c.1920, then as part of her transformation to a steam boat the hull was restored where necessary and the exterior was fully clad in f/glass.For the steam boys I have reproduced the mechanical specs below from her tme listing (thanks Ian McDonald):

The boiler is of the Ofeldt type with a 6mm thick steel central drum and has 12 1/2″ copper coils surrounding it. The boiler is fast steaming, reliable and safe. Stainless steel cladding and stainless steel funnel. The steel firebox with adjustable dampers runs on char, coal and wood.

The 2hp engine is by Wayne Larsen and is single cylinder double acting 2.5″‘bore x 2.75″ stroke. It has a balanced crankshaft and semi balanced slide valve, with Stephenson’s reversing gear, twin boiler water pumps and a vacuum pump with exhaust steam passing through a feed water heater and keel condenser to the stainless steel hot well. The propeller is 14.5″ x 23″

An auxiliary boiler hand pump and is fitted with an electric water pump as a backup. A Stainless steel top-up water tank is in the transom with a stainless steel hot well placed just in front of the Boiler. A Steam bilge ejector is fitted for removal of any bilge water.

She is fitted with a Windermere Kettle to allow the crew to make a hot cup of tea/coffee on the run.

The Best of Colin Wild + Herreshoff Steam Launch

The Best of Colin Wild + Herreshoff Steam Launch
The top two photos of the Brooke families 1927 Colin Wild launch – Linda comes to us via Mitchell Hutchings fb ex the Williamson Family Collection. Linda at the time was moored at Herald Island.

The bottom photo I took today of Wirihana tucked up in Chris McMullen’s shed for her winter TLC. Wirihana is another of Wild’s big motorboats, built in 1933.


It was great to see that CMcM’s Herreshoff steam launch (below) is coming along – engine installed 🙂

SS Duke of Marlborough

Duke of Marlborough copy

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.