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Author Topic: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship  (Read 4080 times)

Edmund

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Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« on: June 24, 2015, 07:21:10 pm »

 
We are often told that only paddle tugs were some times able to disconnect their paddle wheels and drive each wheel independently, to enable them to turn on the spot.  Very useful too - I've built a Director class paddle tug model and it can spin on itself.

But passenger ships?  We are also told that it was too dangerous as there was a danger of capsize and so the wheels were permanently connected together.  Makes it very difficult to manoeuvre a paddle steamer at slow speed.  PS Waverley is famous for its fast approach to piers to maintain its steerage!

Well I was in Italy recently and saw the rather splendid "G. Zanardelli", originally a paddle steamer and now driven by diesel engines on Lake Garda. The pictures are taken at the pier in the little town of Malcesine.

As she began to move away from the pier, I was interested to see the paddle wheels turning in opposite directions to turn the ship before she set off. 

Is this just the Italians doing things their own way?  Or is the British Board of Trade directive on paddles a myth?

http://www.paddlesteamers.info/Zanardelli.htm
 

derekwarner

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2015, 11:02:09 pm »

Edmund.....extensive reading on Paddleducks explains why the British Board of Trade took a dim view to independently driven paddle wheels, however most of the reported incidents where loss of life occurred was when such vessels were caught in open seas and subjected to considerable storm/wave height conditions

One would imagine Lake Garda with it's high bordering mountain ranges [and only 370 sq km of water surface area]  would have relatively mild and temperate weather conditions ....so if any storm did approach, shelter would not be far away.......

So this is my guess as to why the Italian authorities permit independent paddle drives in these specific water conditions ie., for manoverability

Having said this, there are some great video of PS Waverley entering St Ives Bay in 1994 when one wheel is spinning out of the sea, however over-speeding as she has a fixed common paddle shaft......[look at the 1:51 minute mark].........Derek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaybtYIAURc
 
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Derek Warner

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Edmund

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2015, 11:14:44 pm »

Fantastic bit of video there!  Wouldn't have liked to have been a passenger!  Though I've often done the Orkney ferry when I lived in Kirkwall, and that can be very stormy!

Arrow5

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2015, 12:36:23 pm »

Lake Garda is in fact well known for it`s peculiar weather conditions that make it a favourite location for windsurfers and other extreme sailing boats.  Due to the almost north/south alignment and with the Alps at the north end and the much warmer Italian land mass at the southern end, an almost clockwork change of wind direction takes place at mid-day or thereabouts and the warmed cool air reverses northwards as the thermals lift off the cool northern end.  Vento in the morning and Ora in the afternoon. Windsurfers use this to go pretty far down the lake and return by late afternoon having covered perhaps 20 or 30 miles. Torbole to Limone for example. The surrounding edges of the lake are a steep  valley in the mountains (Dolomites).  I have been on the lake on a nice day with 4ft wave heights, much worse on a bad day !   The tourist brochure pictures of a calm lake aren't always accurate !   I`m sure that Italian "flare" and love of "driving"  will be a factor in the paddle steamer design !
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Edmund

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 08:53:30 pm »

It's extra-ordinarily beautiful with those high mountains on either side.  I saw lots of windsurfers racing across the lake.  The other boat we saw at Malcesine was a preserved sailing schooner the Siora Veronica a trading ship from 1926 used to transport goods up and down the lake before the roads were built. Strangely steeply raked masts, but apparently designed for speed.  Italian flare and love of driving all over again!



Arrow5

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2015, 09:29:49 pm »

Rakish lines on that one.  Did you get a glimpse of the hydrofoil ferry ?
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Edmund

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2015, 09:42:25 pm »

Well that was a smoky smelly noisy thing!

Arrow5

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2015, 07:51:08 am »

..no that would be a windsurfer {-)
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dodes

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2015, 02:48:40 pm »

I believe the incident which brought in the locked paddle controls for British registered passenger boats happened in the 1890's when a paddler in the Thames was berthing, she capsized and there was a massive loss of life. The theory was that when all the passengers rushed to one side ready to disembark the paddles where put in opposite directions at the same time to twist in alongside. The twisting motion gave also a rolling action which combined with the sudden list due to everyone moving overcame the vessels stability.
Though they the story goes most people where overcome by the fumes given off, when they clambered out of the river their feet broke the crust of the mud allowing out the gas and with an incoming tide Kay sa rah.
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Edmund

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2015, 04:16:43 pm »

You may be remembering the Princess Alice disaster on the River Thames on 3rd Sept 1878 when she was in collision with the Collier the SS Bywell Castle near Woolwich pier.  The paddle steamer Princess Alice cut across the bow of the Bywell Castle to take advantage of slack water on the other side of the river and was capsized across the bow of the larger collier drowning some 640 or so passengers, though between 70-170 were rescued.  It was beleived that many died because the sewers at Barking and Crossness had been discharged into the river an hour earlier and the water was particularly foul. 

But this disaster though often quoted in this context was nothing to do with the paddles. The Board of Trade enquiry found that the  Princess Alice had not obeyed the recently written rules of the road (1872).  Also there were questions about the life-saving provisions and the competency of the crew of the Princess Alice.


Here in Scotland the Tay and Forth ferries that existed before the bridges in both locations had independent paddle drives.  The Woolwich Ferry, which sailed from the very pier the Princess Alice was heading for also had an independent paddle drive. These were wide and slow ships and there was great advantage in being able to turn the ship through running the engines in different directions, but they were also river ships not for the open ocean. 

At sea the paddle steamers advantage was speed, when long and thin.  Independent paddle drive would be a disadvantage possibly.  No need to steer by driving the paddles independently and a danger of racing engines when the paddle lifts from the water if the ship rolls.  And then there is the expense of two engines.

Paddles were replaced when the turbine steamer was invented on the Clyde and the English Channel - more expensive but even faster.  And of course the advantage of being able to vary the load on the ship.  Paddles only work when they are the right depth in the water - as I know to my cost with a model south coast pleasure steamer which I'm still trying to get to run properly.  I'll put some pictures of that up one day!

dodes

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Re: Independent paddle drive - on a full size ship
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2015, 07:40:33 pm »

HI, I do not have the facts or figures to hand, but I was told many, many, years ago, it was a berthing accident which brought in the regs. But if one can get a copy of the Statute, for the regs,  you may get the date and cause of it.
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