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Old Sep 23, 2013, 02:35 PM
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Mamod marine engine question

Hello. I have a question about Mamod marine engines. A friend of mine wants to recreate his childhood memories by having a ME1 put into a wood hull that I will build. How long of a launch hull do you think would be practical for a ME1?

He wants a scale version of a Little Dunkirk Ship called NEW BRITANNIC.
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Old Sep 24, 2013, 08:19 AM
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This is one plan supplied by MHS :- http://www.myhobbystore.co.uk/produc...am-launch-plan

using the ME1 as a power plant and at 33" (840mm) it's not too small.

Errr, where's the funnel on the New Britannic? Think you'll find it had an IC power plant.

Regards Ian.
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Old Sep 24, 2013, 12:36 PM
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length of hull

Thanks Ian for your response. I addressed, to my friend, the scale issue of mounting a massive engine in the model that did not exist in the actual vessel. He's less interested in scale and more interested in combining his memories.

Wikipedia says: The little ships of Dunkirk were 700 private boats that sailed from Ramsgate in England to Dunkirk in France between 26 May and 4 June 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo, the rescue of more than 338,000 British and French soldiers, who were trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk during the Second World War.

The NEW Britannic is credited with saving 3,000!

I wonder if any of the 700 vessels looked like your suggestion of the Mabel MM1291 Steam Launch Plan? I do like the look of that boat. It's similar to a photo I took at a recent regatta.

I have been to the partial list of ships at the Assoc. of Dunkirk Little Ships http://www.adls.org.uk/t1/boats But, I have not clicked on every name to find a launch-like vessel.
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Old Sep 25, 2013, 09:14 AM
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Admirals barge with big stack

I just found this Dunkirk Little Ship that might be a better fit...

Boat Name:
Count Dracula

Boat Type:
Admiral's Barge

Boat Length:
50ft

Boat Beam:
9ft 6ins

Boat Draft:
3ft 6ins

Boat Displacement:
27 tons

Boat Engine:
Perkins Diesel

Boat Construction:
Teak on oak

Boat Builder:
German Imperial Navy

Boat Year:
1913

Getting out of tight corners was nothing new to the Count Dracula when Cmdr. Ewart Brookes, DSC, RNVR, took her to Dunkirk. She started life in 1913, powered by a steam engine, in the Imperial German Navy. Kaiser Wilhelm II gave her to Admiral von Hipper who took her as his admiral's barge to every ship he sailed in. He used her when he left the Lutzow, just before she sank in the battle of Jutland in 1916, to transfer to the battleship Moeltke. Later he took her with him to the Grand Battle Cruiser Hindenburg and that could have been her end, when having surrendered, the German fleet was scuppered at Scapa Flow in 1918. But a young German sailor could not bear to see the beautiful boat go down, so he released her from her davit winches and as the Hindenburg sank, she floated free and was salvaged by the Royal Navy.

She was a private yacht until her owner, Carl Greiner, sent his son Alan to take her to Ramsgate, where Cmdr. Brookes took charge. He had already spent two days and a night at the beaches and his previous ship was sunk under him.

He was delighted at the speed and power of Count Dracula and he took two 35ft lifeboats in tow. They were loaded to the gunwales with troops and Count Dracula lifted 702 British as well as 10 Belgian soldiers. She ended up quite well armed, having collected, with her troops, three Brens and one French Hotchkiss machine gun, which enabled them to have a shot or two at the Stuka dive bombers.

In Cmdr. Brookes' own words, "I finally brought her back to Ramsgate with 38 soldiers on board, Royal Engineers, who had spent all the week on the beach by the Casino, building a temporary pier of Thames barges."

"I felt rather pleased at the last little jab because at midnight on June 1st, the order was passed: 'all small boats back to England under escort.' - German 'E-Boats' had come down the coast. The intention was to abandon the Royal Engineers and to allow them to get into the town of Dunkirk as best they could - if they could. A difficult job then, because the Germans were close to the beach and had it under machine gun fire."

"A Mr. Jeffries from Brighton (a garage owner, I believe) and myself decided to take a chance and see if we could get the Royal Engineers off. We did. All of them. And as they came away, they were exchanging fire with German troops in lorries or armoured cars. A close thing. I received a reprimand for leaving the convoy of small ships, but as it was one of many reprimands I had during the war for doing odd things, I didn't worry a great deal."

After the war, Count Dracula went back to the Greiner family, who eventually sold her and lost touch over the next 20 years until, one day, Mrs. Greiner rediscovered her being used as a houseboat on the Upper Thames. This is how the boat came into membership of the ADLS. She joined the 1980 return to Dunkirk and was then sold to Richard Huggett who spent five years getting her into shape for the return in 1985. He received an inscribed tankard from Vice-Admiral Sir John Roxborough KCB, CBE, DSO,. DSC, for saving the old lady. But the yard had left out some keel bolts and a few days later, Count Dracula sank. But she was soon lifted and is now in excellent shape, owned by Mike Hamby.

There was a strange misunderstanding about Count Dracula's connection with the Royal Engineers. When Lt.Col. Davies, commanding 38 Engineer Regiment was told that there was a ship which was reported to have gallantly rescued '38 Royal Engineers under fire', he thought that this referred to his unit. In fact, of course, they meant 38 men of the Royal Engineers. To compound the confusion, the 38 men rescued were also members of 38 Field Company, Royal Engineers! By this time, Col. Davies' interest and admiration had been aroused and he was determined for his Unit to honour the Little Ship.

So, 46 years after the event, Count Dracula received a plaque, now displayed on the bulkhead of her admiral's saloon, commemorating her valiant deeds. Present at the ceremony when the plaque was presented, was Sgt. Chalmers, of the Royal Engineers who is now a Chelsea pensioner and remembers being one of the 38 men who came back on Count Dracula that day from Dunkirk. He never forgot the name of the Little Ship that saved his life and her tall red funnel which, like much of her timbers and deck gear remains unchanged since the day she was launched at Wilhelmshaven, on the North Sea coast of Germany, by the Kaiser in 1913.

Source: 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 13 & 19

Updated: 03/09/99
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Count Dracula

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Sun, 03/06/2012 - 13:42 Anonymous
Count Dracula - engine


If it's still the same one, the Perkins diesel engine in the Count Dracula was donated by an old Massey Ferguson combine harvester on my father's farm. Richard Huggett (a previous owner of the Count) was my uncle and I remember that the cylinders were full of water when the engine was removed from the combine. After he picked up a set of gaskets from Invicta Motors for free (one set left on the shelf) and fitted a marine conversion kit Richard got it to run again.
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Sat, 08/10/2011 - 20:24 Anonymous
Count Dracula


I remember this vessel it was moored at anchor bay [Erith] on the lower reaches of the Thames .The owner was sheaving the hull with plywood as it was leaking quiet bad .A few years later as a fisherman working out of Folkestone I heard it call on the VHF. It had been on a trip back to Dunkirk with the Little Ships. The owner had a terminal illness as I remember and was determined to do this one last trip with her. All this was 30 years ago but I still remember the funnel and the engine which was a petrol Kelvin
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Sun, 14/06/2009 - 06:41 Anonymous
Count Dracula history after the war and 2008


The Count Dracula became a houseboat on the Thames at Twickenham after the war where my Grandparents Patrick and Cath Casey lived their with my Aunt June and my Mum Kathryn. They were their during their secondary school years as they went to Twickenham County Grammer school and used to swim off the boat.
They moved out of the area and then I do not know what happened to the boat after that, but some of the details are above.
With research by my nephew in 2008, we have traced down the Count Dracula and found that it is moored in Hayling Island and has recently been available for sale.
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Fri, 25/06/2010 - 09:24 Anonymous
Count Dracula


As a young engaged couple we looked at this as a houseboat moored opposite the Thames Court hotel in Shepperton in 1963, we could have bought it for 1,000 but could not raise a loan on it . We often think of it. The community moored around it used to go to Kew each year to re- paint the hull and bbq and party all the way back.
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Old Sep 26, 2013, 11:02 PM
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photo of the Count
http://www.adls.org.uk/t1/content/count-dracula
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Old Sep 30, 2013, 01:14 PM
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It's going to be the NEW BRITANNIC

My friend is stuck on the idea of a scale version of a Little Dunkirk Ship called NEW BRITANNIC.

With no ship plans or lines of any kind, I'll have to study various picture views and draw something up. I'll take Ian's advice and make the LOA at 33 inches.
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Old Oct 06, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Scale frustration

So, I've been trying to draw up the plans for the NEW BRITANNIC proposed 33 inches.

The first step is trying to establish what scale will work for 33 inches. My frustration: at 9/16 to the scale foot the length of the model is 30 1/4 inches...too small, at 5/8 to the scale foot the length of the model is 37 1/2 inches...too big. I guess I could fine tune my measurements to the 1/32nd. My ruler does not go to the 1/32nd.

Should I just choose between 30 1/4 or 37 1/2 inches?
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Old Oct 07, 2013, 04:08 AM
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Looking at the photo, New Britannic appears to be 100ft long? Working to one of the "standard" scales of 1/35 (many of the military vehicles etc.) would give a hull length of 30"

Reason I gave 33" was that the plan noted was designed specifically for the Mamod unit.

Regards Ian.

Before drawing up super scale plans and making a hull, it may be advantageous to knock up a basic hull from laths and note the performance of the steam plant. Haven't used one myself, but a few have said that it works in becalmed conditions best.
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 09:50 AM
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Working on drawing plans

I've begun drawing the plans using The basic dimensions of the vessel and various photographic images. See attached. I have noticed a dramatic hull shape shift over time. Among the sins of time, this mostly open boat design lost her sheer. Until the 1970s she still had her curves. But by the time of the recent Jubilee, she'd flattened out quite a bit. I'm going to model her in her better days.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 10:10 AM
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Little progress made

Here are the current pictures of the build. I'm behind schedule because I've been scratch building a tug for a large sailboat I built over on Scale Sailboats: Chesapeake Bay Ram Schooner.

The frames are finally on the building board. Some of the solid pine wood frames have warped in the months it has taken to get to this step. I still need to do some fairing of the frames before I can start planking.

Once the planking is finished and the hull cut off the board, the frames will be trimmed to a much smaller profile.
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Old Mar 04, 2014, 09:55 AM
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Planking progress

Below are a couple of pictures of the planking progress. 36 planks so far!!!

I was not completely satisfied with the frame layout. I needed to do a lot of trimming to fair things up. That's what happens when drawing your own plans. Oh well, the bigger the challenge...the bigger the (personal) reward.

On sailing ship hulls, I usually start by getting the sheer strake right and maybe a few more underneath that. Most of my time is planking from the keel up. On this model, it seemed easier to plank from the sheer down.

I'm now at the turn of the hull which is the hardest part. I wish I had the patience to soak or steam the planks to make it an easier job. But once I get going, I have a problem slowing down until I get to the next step in the build.

The hardest part is that my friend wants a bright hull A master craftsman could do this with one layer of planks or a second layer of veneer. I usually paint my hulls after sanding and with a good bit of wood putty. That gives me plenty of time to hide my design and build mistakes My current solution is to use multiple coats of boat soup (tung oil, varnish, pine tar) on the exterior of this model. I have gallons of this stuff that I use for my 1:1 boat masts That should fill any gaps in the planking.
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 04:26 PM
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Planking finished, stuffing box question.

After 68 planks, the planking is finished. There is a lot of sanding in my future to get to a smooth hull. That's one reason I use thick planking I'll attach a false stem after the bow is smooth. I may also lower the sheer after I cut the hull away from the building board.

I also bore the hole for the stuffing box. The Mamod engine is mounted on a metal plate. The stuffing box goes through that...one side to the propeller and one to the engine. No problem water proofing the stuffing box hole from the outside in. But, how the heck will I be able to waterproof the stuffing box hole on the inside? ...between the mounting plate and the hull... My friend (who owns the engine and for whom the hull is being built) said the propeller shaft comes out of the stuffing box. Great. But does the stuffing box come out of the engine? I'd like to be able to mount it, water proof it from the inside and out, and then reattach it.
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 05:13 PM
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If you have some lubricant in the stuffing box, it will keep out water. Use an oil, not a grease. The grease will stall the engine due to the friction between prop shaft and grease and stuffing box...been there done that.

For models, the water pressure trying to get in is very slight, so I've never had a boat sink due to water coming up an oily stuffing box. I usually put a drop on the shaft at the prop bearing before a trip to the pond, but nothing more (this is for my battery-powered VacUTug and my steam-powered launch). Your steam engine will put Way more water into the bilge than any coming up the shaft, if my experience can be counted on.
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Old Nov 08, 2014, 09:48 AM
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I've been focused on other modeling adventures. But, FINALLY some progress to show.

Looks like I missed the plumb bow and should have rounded the bottom of the stem more. That's me working without plans.
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