I've decided to post some updates on my launch. We unfortunately will be unable to attend Lees Mills or any other meet this year due to the lack of time off we have from work (not necessarily a bad thing these days), but are planning to attend several trips with the boat next year.
I have decided to burn wood in the boat this year. I was previously vaporizing kerosene. Kerosene was very tough on the boiler. I did not like the cost, quick start up times, the flames on one area of tubing, the amount of soot, and the noise associated with burning it. Wood is so much more enjoyable. The heat is even, it is easily controlled in my boiler, and I feel I get better economy by burning it. I had hesitated due to feed pump issues. A pinhole leak in my shell and tube feed water heater was the cause of the issues. With that fixed, we have been confident enough to burn wood.
We have not left Narragansett Bay this year, and have made numerous trips on wood (though not far). Adding to the discussion about long range trips, I thought I would share our latest experience on wood. Please let me know if you think it is good or poor performance.
We recently went on a cruise in Narragansett bay. It was calm, but the wind was averaging 12-15 kts. The tide was running out, so for half the trip we fought a knot and a half current. We used five bags of wood, burning an average of a bag per hour to complete the 20 mile loop. What is a bag? see the pictures below. I carried the wood in canvas bags, equal to a big armload. Steam pressure ranged between 120 - 140 lbs and we averaged about 4 mph. The boat will do 8.5 mph at flank speed, 4 feels right.
In my opinion, that's not too bad. She is a big boat with a giant wind catcher of a canopy. I have really enjoyed the switch to wood, no more greasy soot to clean up.
The engine is a 3.25 x 5.5 x 5 (piston valves) and the boiler is a 65 sqft steel WT Roberts. Condensing, with a 7" average vacuum. Feed with with a Teal piston pump belted to the engine, or a 3/8" Penberthy injector.
With the boat running great, I can finally attack the varnish again. Keeping her clean and bright in salt water is a nightmare, but it is worth it.
We hope everyone is having a good summer,
Alex & Michelle