The Steamboat Association
of Great Britain

to foster and encourage steam boating and the building, development, preservation and restoration of steam boats and steam machinery

to stimulate public interest
in steam boats
and steam boating

to promote high standards
of workmanship,
safety and seamanship


Topical notes about the SBA and the world of steamboats

  • 07 Apr 2017 10:16 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tom Peebles passed away on April 3rd 2017

    Brought up in the fishing port of Arbroath and with a family seafaring background, Tom joined the merchant navy as a cadet on leaving school, going on to qualify as a marine engineer.   However; after falling in love with a local lass, and with marriage on the horizon, the attraction of life on the ocean wave ebbed somewhat and he ‘jumped ship’ at the chance to join RNLI Scotland as District Engineer, responsible for all mechanical engineering aspects of commissioning, servicing and repairing the Northern fleet.   He was initially based in Helensburgh, where his thoughts turned to building his own pleasure boat: having decided to run on steam power, he chose a 21ft version of the Selway Fisher ‘Indian Runner’ design. 


    The RNLI then decided to move their centre of operations from the Clyde to Perth, so Tom had the task of moving home, wife Lynne and daughter Elaine, and part-built boat the 70 miles inland.  The name ‘Talisker’ was chosen as Tom jokingly claimed that this amber nectar helped him solve many of the problems that always arise during construction of a boat. 

    Talisker was completed in 1998 and was initially moored on Loch Earn, with trips to Loch Awe to join the other steam boats in Scotland for the rallies there.  Later, Tom was largely responsible for obtaining permission for SBA boats to use Loch Katrine, Glasgow’s water supply, alongside the SS Sir Walter Scot.  Loch Katrine is now well established as the Scottish Steamboat base, and from Easter to October is usually used twice a week by the regular fleet.

    Tom also enjoyed trips to other lochs in Scotland, Windermere Week, and the Scottish canals.  On the latter he was less keen, describing the experience as ‘steaming along muddy ditches’!   He was a regular attendee at the Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy where he would meet up with lifeboat friends who enjoyed making waves around Talisker with their twin diesel powered craft, much to Tom’s ‘amusement’.  Along with Gudmund and Silkie, he also took Talisker over to Norway to a veteran ship festival in Stavanger (where the SBA register photo of Talisker below the bow of the QE2 was taken).

    Tom was a true steam boat enthusiast who had read up and learned virtually everything there was to know about them.   He was most generous in sharing this knowledge with others who asked his advice, giving not just the answer but the reasoning behind it.  He was the model to copy in the way he managed his steam plant and handled Talisker.  A very practical man, Tom frequently added new equipment to Talisker which he manufactured in his very well equipped workshop, just for the fun of it.

    Apart from his family, Tom had two other main interests: radio controlled aeromodelling and music making.  At the former, he excelled in both building and flying, becoming Scottish ‘Scale’ champion.  This building skill and precision is reflected in Talisker, and he even managed to further combine these interests, on occasion, by flying a model seaplane from her.  As a musician, he played flugelhorn and cornet with the Arbroath Brass Band, the ‘moothie’ in the Merchant Navy, and he entertained us all on many occasions with his melodeon and accordion.  He had recently taken up the banjo, the delights of which we had yet to enjoy!  

    Tom was a quiet, unassuming man with a lovely sense of humour, and a good friend to know and have.  He will be missed very much, not only by his family, to whom we offer our condolences, but by steam boaters and aeromodellers everywhere. Not so much perhaps, as Tom would say, by accordion players!

    Tom Peebles died age 69 after a bravely fought battle with cancer on 3rd April 2017.  He is survived by Lynne and Elaine.

    Contributed by Roger Martin, Gudmund Jorgensson and the Peebles Family. 

  • 04 Apr 2017 09:17 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We now have details of the funeral: 12.30 pm next Thursday, 13th April at Perth Crematorium for those close enough, able and wishing to attend.  Lynne has requested 'family flowers only, please, but if desired, donations may be made to a retiring collection for Macmillan Cancer Support and for Ward 32 at Ninewells Hospital'.

    We have been saddened today to learn of the death yesterday of our popular member Tom Peebles, owner of the lovely 'Talisker'.   Always an enjoyable presence he added colour to Scottish steamboating events with his accordion playing and he will be very much missed. More information will be published once funeral details are known. in the meantime our thoughts are with all who today will be feeling his loss keenly.                Roger Heise, chairman

  • 14 Mar 2017 09:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Late addition to the programme!
    Following Dan Cross' talk there will be an extended Q&A sessions and panel discussion on current steamboat and ship restoration.  Dan Cross, Sir Neil Cossons and Brian Smith will make contributions and answer your questions.  Mark Rudall will moderate.
    There will still be time thereafter to mingle before you dine or disperse.

    Roger Heise

  • 25 Feb 2017 09:35 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Readers of e-bay may have noticed there is an entire steam plant up for sale in UK. This is ex. Flying Fox and would suit some one contemplating launch of 30 to 40 foot. the item has been for sale for some months now, It would be a great pity to see it go for scrap as it's price is very reasonable assuming it is in the condition described. I have no connection with the seller.
    If you have pockets deep enough to build a big boat, this could be a bargain!
    Regards John Maltby
    e-bay ref 302234301079

  • 05 Feb 2017 13:12 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Registration and Refreshment bookings are now open on the website.

    Please follow this link to the event page.

    Full AGM documentation is available to members on this page, which will be updated over the next few weeks.

    I look forward to welcoming as many members and their partners as possible in Birmingham on April 1st.

    Roger Heise - Chairman

  • 24 Jan 2017 14:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The SBA AGM and Social Event will be held on Saturday April 1st at the Think Tank, Millennium Point in Birmingham.

    The programme for the day, with the AGM Agenda and a booking form for refreshment and meals will be published this month.  You can access the information on the website here.

    The Social Event is an excellent occasion to meet up with fellow steamboats and members.  We offer good company and the inimitable SBA auction; you will also contribute to the good governance of the Association by participating in the AGM.

  • 24 Jan 2017 14:25 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rally and Event dates for 2017 are being firmed up.  Please look at the events pages and make a note in your diaries!

  • 06 Sep 2016 21:53 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our thanks to Ian Davies for flying the drone an taking these aerial videos during Windermere Week in August 2016.  The videos make Windermere look really inviting - but then, the drone could fly only on the good-weather days!  Enjoy - Roger Heise

    Copy and paste this link to your browser

    or click here to open in a new browser window.

  • 30 Aug 2016 22:53 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Have a look at this flickr album of ( mainly ) steam boats on Windermere from the 2016 SBA Windermere Week - and some from from earlier years.  Thanks to Robert Beale for compiling the album.

    Roger Heise

  • 23 Aug 2016 09:30 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Further to our notice of the death on 15th August of SBA Elder Statesman, Peter Hollins MBE, we are now in a position to advise that his funeral will be on THURSDAY 8th September.

    A family Committal at Portchester Crematorium will be followed by a Memorial Celebration of Peter's life and achievements at Boathouse no 4 at Portsmouth Dockyard, where family and friends from the various areas of his life are invited to gather at 2.00pm for 2.30, with refreshments to follow.

    You are most welcome and if you would like to attend it would be helpful if you could drop a note to either Tim or Christopher Hollins ( or who will be happy to answer questions and can also advise on parking and any special dietary requirements.  

    NB: For those who might wish to make a donation in memory of Peter, cheques payable to The Royal Naval Museum would be most welcome, marked S.P.199 on the reverse: these can be sent to Co-operative Funeralcare 147 Stoke Rd, Gosport PO12 1SE.                                                                                                          Mark Rudall

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