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Author Topic: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )  (Read 1991 times)

SteveH

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Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« on: June 13, 2020, 04:51:26 pm »

Calling all model Thames barge sailors! Please have a look at the photos attached.
 I bought this model last year on EBay from a chap in Clevedon , Somerset. Unfortunately when I went to collect it  he was in hospital and I didn't get the chance to talk about it with him. ( Who knows, he may use this forum?) .
Anyway, it is built on a plastic moulded hull and is about 33" length overall including rudder and bowsprit. I think it may be an HFM kit, because I don't know any other plastic barge hulls of this size, which would make it perhaps twenty years old or more? Can anyone confirm?
 I sailed it a couple of times "as was", then I did a bit of work on it - some repainting, detailing, added a boat and davits and crew figures ( the mate having a fag on the mainhatch is 1:35 Russian tank crew!), and put new 2.4 r/c in it. Then Covid struck, but I should soon be able to get it back on the lake at Oxford.
  Question for anyone sailing this size of barge ... I can see that the two white  jibs are not correct for some reason, can anyone give me a possible reason why? The upper one seems to have been fitted upside down and is on a stay that goes halfway up the topmast instead of to the top. Similarly the lower one is stayed to the bottom of the mainmast/topmast doubling when it should ( in full scale practice ) be stayed to the top of the doubling. I have a theory about this; as rigged, the sail plan is lower, and I wonder if this was done to reduce the chance of the model being knocked flat by gusts of wind or when gybeing. It did seem a bit prone to this and would sometimes put its lee rail down to the water, a bit worrying when the hatches are not sealed watertight. I think the barge would originally have been sailed on Clevedon lake, which is right next to the sea and I would guess gets a fair bit of wind.
   I would like to make new jib(s) and rig them authentically, but I don't want to sink it!Comments, advice and shared experience would be welcomed.
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roycv

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Re: HFM?? Thames barge
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2020, 05:54:49 pm »

Hello, I think the HFM Thames Barge was smaller than your dimensions but you are not wrong.

Before the kit came out Harvey prouced a black plastic hull of about your size.  It was in two vertical sections.  I think the HFM kit is to 1 : 48 whereas most of the large ones are at 1 : 24 scale.  This hull fell between the two, but there are lots of figures in this scale.

I bought a hull which came with Lee boards as well for the princely sum of £2.50 at an exibition, I think he was pleased to clear them!  I never got round to it but passed the plastic hull and lee boards on to a friend who built a good model of her. 

I asked Harvey if she was modelled on a particular barge and he said it was Venta.  (I have the plans for her).
I am sure others can help with the sailing characteristics.
regards
Roy
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coch y bonddu

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Re: HFM?? Thames barge
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2020, 06:59:44 pm »

Mastman sells different sized thames barges maybe one of his ????




Dave
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Re: HFM?? Thames barge
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2020, 08:48:28 pm »

I am no expert, but when I lived in the UK on the thames I saw many barges come past and to me the Jib looks correct inc the colour, but as I say....
You have a nice model there and I am sure there are many on the forum who will know much more than me. You could also look a the Model Barge forum (SMBO I think)
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SteveH

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Re: HFM?? Thames barge
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2020, 09:10:17 pm »

Hello, I think the HFM Thames Barge was smaller than your dimensions but you are not wrong.

Before the kit came out Harvey prouced a black plastic hull of about your size.  It was in two vertical sections.  I think the HFM kit is to 1 : 48 whereas most of the large ones are at 1 : 24 scale.  This hull fell between the two, but there are lots of figures in this scale.

I bought a hull which came with Lee boards as well for the princely sum of £2.50 at an exibition, I think he was pleased to clear them!  I never got round to it but passed the plastic hull and lee boards on to a friend who built a good model of her. 

I asked Harvey if she was modelled on a particular barge and he said it was Venta.  (I have the plans for her).
I am sure others can help with the sailing characteristics.
regards 1
Roy


Thanks for your interest. My hull is 27inches b.p., and given a typical barge legth of 80-85feet b.p. that looks most like 1:35 to tie it down to the nearest popular modelling scale. The skipper at the wheel is a modified 1:40 scale German navy sailor and he is a bit on the small side ( malnourishment!) The 1:35 mate looks a better fit. The barge hull is black plastic and has a plastic moulded deck, cabin top and hatches. If the HFM kit was 1:48 that would give a hull length of around 20-21 inches. That seems a bit small to me for a sailing model but I know that  people do sail them okay.


I can't seem to find a working  website for AMBO anymore, anyone know if it folded?
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roycv

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Re: HFM?? Thames barge
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2020, 09:44:44 pm »

Hello Steve you have a PM.  Just check your messages at the top in the blue bar and click messages.
kind regards
Roy
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derekwarner

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Re: HFM?? Thames barge
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2020, 11:55:15 pm »


Steve...I am sure are aware there are quite a few videos of Thames Sailing Barges


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0JdKxU8JJM


Some now have an auxiliary motor, a few still sail only


One comment repeated is that they could be sailed by a Man & a Boy..........[including the explanation of the majority of men involved in WWI  enlistments, so the 2nd person was much younger {below enlistment age}]


The dropping of one of the Lee Boards appears to be semi automatic and functioned by a change in tack.....with a boom in deck level athwart ships just behind the main Gaff Boom?...so in a breeze, one board is always down?.........then on berthing winched up by the Gaff Boom hand winch


Not sure from your photograph?.....is the rudder blade extended in both depth and length?


I have read that a turn of the Century build was a paddle wheeler, but I cannot find any photograph of this


Looking forward to reading your posts on this


Derek


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SteveH

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Re: HFM?? Thames barge
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2020, 07:48:50 am »

Steve...I am sure are aware there are quite a few videos of Thames Sailing Barges


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0JdKxU8JJM


Some now have an auxiliary motor, a few still sail only


One comment repeated is that they could be sailed by a Man & a Boy..........[including the explanation of the majority of men involved in WWI  enlistments, so the 2nd person was much younger {below enlistment age}]


The dropping of one of the Lee Boards appears to be semi automatic and functioned by a change in tack.....with a boom in deck level athwart ships just behind the main Gaff Boom?...so in a breeze, one board is always down?.........then on berthing winched up by the Gaff Boom hand winch


Not sure from your photograph?.....is the rudder blade extended in both depth and length?


I have read that a turn of the Century build was a paddle wheeler, but I cannot find any photograph of this


Looking forward to reading your posts on this


Derek


Derek, thanks for your interest.


Having been born on the Essex coast I have always had an interest in Thames barges, and in recent years, with the responsibilities of raising children behind me, I have had the opportunity to do some sailing on those that are preserved each summer. A series of races is held each year, and they are great fun, the nautical version of truck racing. Several 90ft vessels, nearly 100 tons each and setting up to 5,000sq. ft of sail, all converging on a mark buoy at the same time, can be exhilarating to say the least!


Leeboards are certainly not automatic, apart from dropping to the lowered position under their own weight of over a ton. They have to be winched back up again by crab winches which are very low to the deck and hence hard work on the back. When tacking, the lee board is dropped and the weather board raised each time and the barge "leans" against the lee board . In trade, when tacking up a narrow creek, both boards might have been left lowered to save work. Most (all?) model barges have additional fin keels with a lead bulb to keep them stiff or they would be unsailable, the leeboards then become redundant detail and are both raised.


Model barge rudders are extended  as the scale rudder would be ineffective, and I think most, like mine, have a forward extension to balance the rudder and reduce load on the steering servo.


I find myself in the odd position of having a fair idea of knowing how a full size Thames barge is sailed, but not knowing much about the sailing characteristics of model barges, hence I am trying to pick other folks brains as I would rather not learn the hard way!
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roycv

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Re: HFM?? Thames barge
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2020, 08:24:24 am »

Hi maybe at least 10 or so years ago we had a club outing on the Barge called Hydrogen it easily accomodated our coachload.  I understand that this barge was a Coastal Barge and of slightly larger dimensions altough otherwise very similar in appearance.  According to the web site is the largest wooden barge surviving built in 1906.

Our late Chairman had worked out the local tides so that we were guaranteed a good trip on the water and lunch afterwards all timed nicely to coincide with normal travel times.  Lovely day as well!
I did have a 1/2 inch scale barge come through my hands, I just found it too large and heavy for me and after a bit I passed it on to a club member who put some extra touches to her and she now resides in a local museum.
regards
Roy


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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2020, 09:08:22 am »


What is the big heavy chain across the deck for? .... Lee board bracing?


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derekwarner

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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2020, 09:19:33 am »

Hullo Roy & Steve.......


I do remember watching a Video of the Hydrogen named Thames Barge


From the image, it does confirm she has the engine cooling water shown


I am sure the chain Martin asks about is to lower the alternate Lee Board, however defer to Steve for a more factual response


A confusing issue is the two [2] chains that drop down over the stern to the rudder........they just don't suggest that they are to alter the angle or set of the rudder via the helm?


Derek

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SteveH

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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2020, 09:26:25 am »


What is the big heavy chain across the deck for? .... Lee board bracing?



[size=78%]Yes, on the fullsize barge the leeboard is secured by an iron toggle pin throughthe for'd top corner, about which it pivots. The outboard head of the pin is either tee shaped or mushroom shaped. The pin passes through the bulwark, and the inboard ends of the port and starboard pins are joined by the chain. From memory, I think it has a turnbuckle in it to tighten the pins against the leeboards.[/size]
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SteveH

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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2020, 10:21:49 am »

Hullo Roy & Steve.......


I do remember watching a Video of the Hydrogen named Thames Barge


From the image, it does confirm she has the engine cooling water shown


I am sure the chain Martin asks about is to lower the alternate Lee Board, however defer to Steve for a more factual response


A confusing issue is the two [2] chains that drop down over the stern to the rudder........they just don't suggest that they are to alter the angle or set of the rudder via the helm?


Derek


Derek, HYDROGEN is still going strong, she was the first barge I ever sailed on.  She does only day trips as she has no cabin accommodation below, but she can carry at least 50 passengers and if the heavens open they can all get down in the hold which is now an open plan saloon with galley and bar. As Roy posted earlier, she is the largest wooden barge still afloat; she was originally built with steel tanks in the holds to carry stuff like creosote - some think that any leakage has helped preserve her timbers.She doesn't normally race in the sailing matches, she follows the action as a floating grandstand , which is a good earner. It cost thousands each year just to keep a barge maintained, particularly a wooden one. Like most preserved barges she now has an engine with a prop under one quarter, gets the passengers home if the wind won't serve. I've sailed on EDME and MIROSA which still have no engine and hence can keep their original fitted cabin at the stern, this usually got sacrificed for an engineroom.


The chains to the rudder are not for steering, this is done through a short iron crosshead  yoke on top of the rudder stock. The ships wheel turns a shaft which is half righthand threaded and half lefthand threaded. There is "nut" on each threaded section  with an arm ( one short, one long ) going back to the crosshead yoke; as the wheel is turned, one arm pushes and one arm pulls the rudder round. Hope this explanation is understandable. The chains are kicking straps for the rudder and lead to its outboard top edge; they are slack in the photo but one  would tighten as the helm goes over. If the barge was anchored in rough weather , both chains would be tightened to lock the rudder against wave action and avoid damage to the steering gear. Only one preserved fullsized  barge, DAWN, has tiller steering. Most barges from the end of the 19th century were built with wheel steering - the tillers were pretty fearsome things  and could easily knock someone overboard, in rough weather they would have preventer tackles rigged from the tiller end to the quarter rails either side to stop them getting out of control.
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derekwarner

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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2020, 11:07:20 am »

Thanks Steve.......

"the chains to the rudder are not for steering, this is done through a short iron crosshead  yoke on top of the rudder stock. The ships wheel turns a shaft which is half righthand threaded and half lefthand threaded. There is "nut" on each threaded section  with an arm"



In a perfect World, I would love to sail/be crew on a Thames Barge O0   ... Derek
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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2020, 03:30:01 pm »

Hi,
     There are several next active blogs.


   AMBO ( The Association of Model Barge Owners ) >  - as a replacement for link >Modelbarge.info

                                                              https://www.facebook.com/groups/2659272094133382/


    Model Thames Sailing Barges                         https://www.facebook.com/groups/1036890286476399/


    Thames Sailing Barges                                  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1491060737778004/
 
     Thames sailing barges stuff       https://www.modelboats.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=131302&p=1


  Greetings 
   Tom




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derekwarner

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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2020, 11:44:24 pm »

Hey thanks Tom.......there are some amazing images of the Gaff Barges of yesteryear....


I am still unsure of those chains dropping over the rudder.......many of the barges appear to have an iron square muff collar around the top of the square wooden rudder post...then two arms disappearing under a cover forward to a steering position


These do not present as Tiller Arms......as many of the vessels have what we see as conventional ships wheels  :o


Derek
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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2020, 07:12:39 am »

Regarding the chains hanging from the stern, as the rudder is a big chunk of wood i.e buoyant, sitting on pintles. Could they be as a back up to losing the rudder in a storm etc as they don't seem to interfere with the normal movement of the rudder ? Also from the pics, not all barges have them, so they must be optional.
Surprised no barge sailors have joined in (or or they sitting in stitches enjoying the whacky theories !)



Mike
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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2020, 12:29:31 pm »

Derek the rods are links to the steeing gear. Basically the wheel is on  the end of a steel rod with two threaded sections, one left and the other right handed thread. A threaded sleeve travels on each of the threaded section as the rod rotates. Each sleeve is connected by a rod link to the rudder, as the wheel rotates one sleeve travels forwards and the other backwards providing a turning force to the rudder. I havn't been able to find a photo of this mechanism so far, maybe someone can do this to make the mechanism clearer.
Jim
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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2020, 03:39:38 pm »

I am not a model RC sailor - I race in RG65 and IOM classes - but I can tell you this:


One of the challenges of designing rigs for RC sailboats is that you need to have a simple way to tack your sails - wind will fill the sails from port or starboard depending on where you want to go, right? So when tacking, the sails need to pass from starboard to port and back with ease, even in very low winds. So, the easiest way to do this is to avoid overlapping sails, so that each individual sail can move from one side to the other without touching any other sail or any part of the standing and running rigging.


I think this is the reason why the from jib is rigged upside-down: so that it can tack freely.


Regards,
Thomas Armstrong
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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2020, 04:57:20 pm »

Hi,
         here is the rudder control system, commonly used (even in modifications) for example in American fishing schooners (Gloucester schooners).It is clear here where the rudder control rods lead.
Tom
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derekwarner

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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2020, 10:58:40 pm »

Thanks Gents :-)) ..........a small functioning turnbuckle may have enough LH & RH thread?? %) ..... Derek
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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2020, 11:05:09 pm »

Thanks Gents :-)) ..........a small functioning turnbuckle may have enough LH & RH thread?? %) ..... Derek


I don't think you want a complicated steering arrangement so small... it would be bound to fail.
I suggest you use the traditional direct pull-pull arrangement used commonly on all RC aircraft and boats...
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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2020, 11:22:35 pm »

I take you point Thomas, Knupfers largest left/right threaded spindle rod is M3 x 0.5 ...and in brass ..so the shear is ~~ 2.439 mm diameter....which in brass isn't a lot  >>:-( 


I also now understand about the drooping safety chains Mike......to guard against that large rudder floating away in heavy seas


Derek
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Re: Thames sailing barge ( HFM ? )
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2020, 08:26:05 am »

I take you point Thomas, Knupfers largest left/right threaded spindle rod is M3 x 0.5 ...and in brass ..so the shear is ~~ 2.439 mm diameter....which in brass isn't a lot  >>:-( 


I also now understand about the drooping safety chains Mike......to guard against that large rudder floating away in heavy seas


Derek


Thats just my theory Derek ! By the way when I built my 4ft scratch built  Will Everard I came across instructions for a screw powered steering gear in an old model magazine and decided to make it. Too complicated to describe really but basically it consisted of a screw rod running from steering wheel astern to a support on which a screwed saddle ran back and forth. Suspended from that was a fitting with a pair of microswitches attached at the bottom and to arms on port and starboard rudder head. A servo in the hull was connected to the switches so that port helm would set the current in one direction, starboard the  opposite and the rudder would turn. To cut a complicated story short (I'm lost and I made it !) the gear worked fine with the steering wheel turning along with the rudder, BUT I sail in a large concrete sided lake and she sails well in a strong wind, but the rudder moved slowly and more to scale. After a few collisions with a far off concrete bank because it took so long for the rudder to answer, I abandoned it for a standard servo linkage and fitted an extended rudder bottom to ease the strain on the servo.


Mike
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