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

  • 19 Jan 2014 15:10 | Deleted user
    David Eager, one of the Consuta trustees writes...

    A scheme to build a Thames Heritage Museum at Beale Park near Pangbourne to house three historic steam boats is currently going to planning appeal after being repeatedly turned down by West Berkshire Council Local Planning Authority despite strong local support. We'd like to ask for your help.

    The museum project has been designed to house exhibits and information on the heritage and development of powered boat building on the Thames. The museum would also be an ideal location to house the SBA’s own extensive collection of historic books drawings and photos which have been gathered ever since the SBA was formed. It will also house Consuta, the hugely historically significant steam umpires' launch, built nearby by local builder Sam Saunders in 1898. The other vessels are Cygnet, built by Thorneycroft and Co in 1870, again, a remarkable survivor, and Danola, built for Mr Palmer of Huntley and Palmer biscuits in 1894.

    The Consuta Trust and its partner Thames Boats Trust have been campaigning for some time to develop a facility which allows the public to enjoy these magnificent craft and learn about the development of boat building on the river. An outline planning application to West Berkshire District Council last year was blocked by the planning officials despite 50 letters of support, including the local Basildon Parish Council, local MP Richard Benyon and nationally important organisations such as the Register of National Historic Ships.

    Brian Smith, Chairman of The Consuta Trust, said: "We  need as many people as possible to register their support for the appeal before the 31st January deadline.

    Brian and the project team have put a great deal of effort into this campaign and there is a strong feeling amongst those who have worked on the application that we have not been treated at all fairly by the LPA.

    If you'd like to see our Thames steam boat heritage preserved, please could I ask you to support the extensive work and cost that has already been put into this project, and write a letter or email of support urging the Appeal Officer to overturn the LPA's decision and examine whether the LPA has followed planning procedures fairly and correctly.

    Comments on the appeal (reference 2208764) can be made either by email at or by post to:
    Attention of Nicolas Patch,
    3/06 Wing,
    Temple Quay House,
    2, The Square,
    BS1 6PN.

    If like me you need a little help to get started with such a letter or email  might I suggest something along the lines included in this sample document (please pick some of the paragraphs below shuffle their order and adapt this to your own words).

    Further details are available by following this link:
  • 16 Jan 2014 18:07 | Deleted user
    Applications are invited for 5 x trainees for the Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership project, a new Heritage Lottery Skills for the Future funded initiative managed by National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK).  

    Subject to confirmation of HLF funding on 28 January, this project will provide ten 12-month training placements at five partner sites based in Scotland, the West Country, Suffolk, the East Coast and the Solent, offering on-board specialist training to ensure that the significance of UK historic vessels and the ability to operate them safely and effectively is kept alive. The trainees will also undertake a tailored course in historic vessel maintenance at the International Boatbuilding Training College and an interpretation placement at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. A skills mapping exercise will provide template training models for the wider sector and an assessment framework for seamanship skills will be developed as a project legacy.
    To apply for one of the trainee vacancies, please view the job descriptions at:  Closing date for applications is 31 January 2014.

  • 08 Jan 2014 19:08 | Deleted user

    One of the objects of the Steamboat Association is “to stimulate public interest in steam boats and steam boating”.  With this in mind we are going to run a light-hearted competition based around the building of steam powered outboard motors.  Entry is free to any SBA members, who can take part either individually or in small teams. If you are interested in taking part in the competition but are not an SBA member why not join the Steam Boat Association?


    Form of the Competition

    The SBA will provide a boat to which the competitors attach a steam outboard motor.  The boat will include a boiler (with a fireman) to provide steam for the engine.  The entrant will then race against other entries in a time trial.

    Definition of a Steam Outboard

    For the purposes of this competition any device which will mount on the transom bracket of the host boat and receives steam from the host boat fits the definition of an outboard motor.  

    A steam control valve is required on the engine for the entrant to control the engine.

    There is no requirement for the use of a traditional outboard motor leg or even to use a propeller. Similarly the engine does not have to be of the conventional steam engine arrangement.  Be as creative as you like!

    The outboard motor does not have to include a steering system as this will be provided on the host boat (although it may if you wish).

    The Host Boat

    The host boat will be Mark Rudall’s Chimera II.  She is approximately 18’ long by 6’ beam.  Her water tube boiler produces about 100 lbs/hr of saturated steam at 100psi.  She is normally driven by a twin cylinder high pressure engine of 2.5” bore by 2.5” stroke. 

    Chimera II will be fitted with a temporary mounting bracket that extends across the whole of the transom, as can be seen in figures 1 & 2, the outboard can be mounted at any position on the bracket.  However care should be taken to avoid Chimera II’s rudder.

    Steam will be supplied to the engine via an insulated flexible hose which will be fitted with a 3/8” BSP male fitting.


    Form of the Competition

    The competition will be in two parts; a time trial and the judges’ selection for technical excellence.

    1 - Time trials

    The time trial will involve two timed runs around a course.  The faster of the two runs will be recorded.

    The fireman of the host boat will attempt to maintain a boiler pressure of 100psi (likely to be lower at the engine).  The entrants are responsible for control of steam supply to the engine and for steering the boat around the course.

    2 - Technical excellence

    The judges will decide on their favourite entry, based on innovative features, quality of workmanship, presentation etc.  The judges’ decisions are final.


    Location of the Competition

    The competition will take place in the course of the Beale Park Boat Show which is on the 6th-8th June 2014.  Entrants can arrange for a slot to test and tinker with their entry before the judging and competition takes place.

    Safety & Environmental Considerations

    Entrants are responsible for their own safety when operating their plant.  It is suggested that you complete a simple risk assessment to identify risks of your design and take the necessary steps to mitigate against them.

    The outboard motor must not pollute the environment and measures to prevent oil escaping from the outboard motor MUST be taken.  Minimal cylinder lubrication may be necessary but care should be taken that excess oil droplets do not find their way into the lake. The judges will need to be satisfied that your engine will not pollute the lake before allowing the engine on the water.

    The judges and the fireman of the host boat reserve the right to stop the competition at any point for reasons of safety, to prevent damage to the host boat or other craft or to prevent pollution.


    For more information or to register an entry for the competition (before 15th May) contact Kingsley Robinson at:

    Phone: 07985 931299


    Post: 13 Caer Castell Place,



              CF3 3PW

    Awards Sponsored by Process Instruments

    Click here for a printable copy on these instructions.

  • 04 Jan 2014 17:10 | Deleted user
    To get the season started there will be a mass boiler testing at John Hendry’s in Avonbridge, Stirlingshire on 1st May.   Followed by a trip through the Falkirk Wheel and on to Linlithgow on the Friday and a day on Loch Katrine on the Saturday and/or Sunday.

    Please contact Gudmund Jorgensen if you want to attend.
  • 11 Dec 2013 20:39 | Deleted user
    Will once again be at the wonderful Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,  just off the M40 near Warwick.  Details have gone out with the December 'Funnel' and can also be found in the events list.

    Do note the date and book early: it'll be a great day!
  • 05 Dec 2013 16:57 | Deleted user
    SBA Services, your boiler testing company regrets to announce that our scheme administrator, David Beale, has declared his intention to resign in the near future.

    Those of you who use the scheme, will recognise the immense contribution he has made to it's success over the last 7 Years. He has exercised his role with efficiency, patience, good sense, diligence and understanding, all attributes we recognise in him personally .and with a technical input which many of us have also found most helpful, a very hard act to follow.

    However, the scheme will of course, continue and we are anxious to appoint a successor in the near future. David has indicated his willingness to continue in the short term, we are keen to avoid taking too much advantage of his generosity.

    We invite enquiries/applications from interested parties, to appoint a successor. A Job Description will be available.

    Please correspond in the first instance with Bill Hall, Company Secretary (contact details are in the members directory)

  • 03 Nov 2013 17:43 | Deleted user

    In May, my husband and I set off for a rather unusual holiday - aboard the VIC 32, the last seagoing coal fired steam 'Clyde Puffer'. She was built in 1943 and has been well known for the last 30 years on the West Coast of Scotland.

    We were to arrive at Ardishaig to board the boat, and as we got off the coach, we had to walk a little way before we spotted her.  We were welcomed aboard and given a tour, and taken to our little cabin tucked up near the front of the boat (or should that be bow?) and warned that it does leak sometimes!  As it was a slightly damp day, we warmed ourselves by the huge woodburning stove in the galley, as the rest of the passengers arrived (12 in total). 

    Most of them had been before, and couldn't resist coming back, as Nic the skipper informed us.  We met Lyle the engineer, whom Kingsley was to spend many hours with, down in the engine room!  And then there was the cook and galley slave who provided us with the most delicious meals and homemade cake and bread all week. 

    We set off the following day to Tarbert, and braved the weather by standing on deck to look at the view, and see the billows of black smoke leaving a big trail behind us, wonderful!  At Tarbert, we stopped off next to a rather large pile of coal, and were told we had to shovel it all into the bunkers!  Off we got, picked up the shovels and wheelbarrows, and got to it!  Thankfully, we didn't have to the shovel the whole pile!

    Throughout the week we gradually meandered our way back to Glasgow, stopping at various places including Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Greenock and visits to Holy and Gare Loch. 

    The scenery was beautiful (when you could see it through the clouds!) and was made all the more special by being on such a historic and interesting boat, powered by steam.

    Kingsley enjoyed chatting to Lyle and helping out in the engine room, and even stoking the boiler (which I also did once!). We soon found that the two entrances to the engine room were the warmest places to sit, so often you would see 1 or 2 of us sat at the top of the steps reading and enjoying the warmth from the boiler.  It was also a useful place to put the bread dough to rise!

    I enjoyed a bit of bird watching, and we also saw some porpoises one day.  Nic encouraged everyone to have a go up in the wheel house, needless to say my steering was a little bit wonky, but I got the hang of it in the end!  It did get a bit crowded in the wheelhouse at times, as it was a popular spot to shelter from the weather.

    One of the highlights of the week was visiting the Isle of Bute.  We wandered around Rothesey in the morning, and hired a tandem in the afternoon and cycled around the island, visiting the ruins of St. Blane's church.  We were urged by Nic to visit the old toilets just by the harbour, and I had to wait for the men to leave to have a nose at the highly decorated urinals!

    That evening we anchored off shore, and enjoyed listening to the waves lapping against the side of the boat as we drifted off to sleep.

    Nic was a character, to say the least, and had many interesting stories to tell, and kept us all entertained.  Whilst we were moored up at Greenock, we were able to have a tour under the Waverley, which was in the dry dock, being prepared for the summer season, before having a tour of the wheel house and the engine room.

    We also stopped off to visit the Titan Crane at Clydebank, not for those scared of heights, but great views from the top!  We finished up in Glasgow, with lots of memories, and keen to go again next year!

    You can find out more about VIC 32 and holidays aboard on their website.

  • 31 Oct 2013 15:12 | Deleted user

    The Medway Queen has moved to Avon Mouth, so she can be ready to leave Bristol where the hull has been rebuilt and be towed to Gillingham for her return to the River Medway as soon as the weather allows.

    You can find out more about the history of the Medway Queen and the work of the preservation society on their website. Photo's by Philip Clark.

  • 07 Sep 2013 12:12 | Deleted user
    One of the objects of the Association is “to stimulate public interest in steam boats and steam boating”.  With this in mind we are planning to run a light-hearted competition in 2014 based around the building of steam powered outboard motors.  

    The competition will take the form of a time trial round a short course, with awards also being given for creative and attractive entries. To save on the complication of each entrant having to build a boiler and get it tested and insured, a boat and boiler will be provided on which each entrant can simply mount their engine for the test. The motor being tested would simply need a 15mm female connector to draw steam at 120psi from the host boat.

    We are keen that this event can be used as a way of introducing young people to engineering, and steamboats in particular. 
    If you know a young person or youth group who would be interested then why not involve them and build a steam outboard together?

    The exact details of the date and format of the competition are yet to be finalised.  However, get your thinking caps on and come up with a design, the more unusual the better.  Once the details are finalised they will be announced in Funnel and on the website.  If you would like to be kept informed please let Kingsley Robinson know (email

  • 31 Aug 2013 11:26 | Deleted user

    Between the 11th and 16th of August steamboaters took part in the Windermere Steamboat Rally. 

    On the Monday boats headed south to Fell Foot for lunch before rafting up for tea of Silverholme on the way back.

    Tuesday saw boats head north to Waterhead, after lunch boats headed across to Pulwyke Bay where there was a whistle salute and a eulogy to long time steamboat Derek Brown was read to coincide with his memorial service.

    The following note was received from Derek's family:

    Dear all at the Windermere Rally

    I would like to say thank you to everyone who signed the wonderful card which was sent from Pulwyke Bay. It meant a great deal to me to know that as we were in the church at Shiplake, giving thanks for Derek's life,  you too were remembering him in a place where we have had so much joy over the years.

    The memorial service was wonderful and just as we had hoped, with around 100 relatives and friends old and new, from all of Derek’s many fields of interest taking part. His bell-ringing colleagues rang both during and after the service.

    Thank you again for your thoughtfulness.
    With very best wishes

    Wednesday saw people dressing up for lunch at the Royal Windermere Yacht Club before being shown around the Windermere Steamboat Museum which is currently closed for renovation. 

    On Thursday boats that braved the rain headed for Wray Castle and tea behind Belle Isle.

    Friday saw boats doing there own thing (including more tea behind Belle Isle) before pulling out and leaving in the afternoon.

    More photo's of the event are now available on the photo album page and a video is available below and in the video gallery.

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