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PV Sundowner Rebuild

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Just a quick note, I got some paddlewheel rims today, abit bigger than i expected, 8ft dia, oh well, she will probebly be a mini PS Adelaide!

Where'd the wheels come from?  Off a boat we might know?  They're pretty huge wheels for a boat that size.  Get the paddle boxes right & she'll look pretty impressive!

Sundowners history: Built about 1981 by Basil Bryce at Bamwan, south of Echuca. Used a pleasure boat around the echuca area doing a couple of trips up to Barmah. Was sold to a mexican who used it as a houseboat and was moored below the Caravan park, near Gemma's old mooring.
The owner went away and the boat sank, apparently he sank it to claim the insurance! The Amelia Jane(Rochester) owner( Jim Lawford) eventually got the rights to the mooring and raised the boat and took it to his place at Rochester. But he stripped it and moved it to his daughters property west of Echuca.
Their neighbour who i work with saw the fella stripping it and told me about it. I approached him and made an offer and he sold it to me. I put support beams in it and trucked it home. Jim Lawfors was going to rebuild it as a stern wheeler and made three 8ft paddlewheel rims but since he got rid of the hull the wheels ended up under a tree. I was told about the wheels and he sold them to me for a cheap price. And thats about the story so far
Attached is a photo of the hull in the shed with a wheel beside to show how big they really are!

Roderick Smith:
I just skimmed through some of my own photos to look for typical wheel sizes.
Perhaps most are designed for looks, rather than for any ideal size to transmit the power?

8 ft (2.4 m) wheels seem to be common on large two-deck vessels, where the lower deck is not walk through.  This provides the convenience of having a stairwheel climbing up a paddlebox to the upper deck.  PV Avoca had wheels which came higher than the lower deck.

Most smaller single-deck vessels (eg Ranger, Billy Tea, Tarney) which do not use walk through hulls have wheels which do not reach the top of the deck cabin (hinting at 6 ft, 1.8 m wheels).  See Gemma on APAM lopm&r p11.

Some of the small but two-deck vessels have wheels which to not reach the level of the upper deck (for boats which do not have walk through hulls), or which do (for boats with a walk through hull).  See Colonial Lass on APAM lopm&r p9.

On sternwheelers, Chalka appears to have a 2.4 m wheel (APAM lopm&r p5); Gypsy Ellen's (APAM lopm&r p13) appears to be smaller.

Enclosed: a photo familiar to Paddleduckers.  SS Moose (which I interpret as SWPV) was one of the regulars in the random opening-page selection when there was just a small pool of photos.  As it flashed by this morning, I grabbed it.  Michael had been talking of going stern wheel for Sundowner, partly because it has a square stern.  This would save the work of extending the hull to provide better water flow, and would remove the need to build sponsons.  The result would be less spacious, but more trailable.  Is the owner a member or friend of one?  Could we obtain a report of how effective the paddle is?

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Roderick Smith:
I tried to sketch a design concept over Michael's photo, using Photoshop, but it was too crude.
A scale drawing was quicker, and posting it here reaches more people in one hit.  Michael has seen it already, but was busy crewing for Sunday night's major paddlesteamer fleet sailpast at Echuca.
Michael and I have workshopped multiple design concepts over multiple hulls over the last few years, and this one incorporates many ideas which we have explored in the past.  I have set up the main cabin and front deck to pick up the party deck of PS Adventurous (but with space freed by not being steam) and to match the aim of resembling PS Austria.

The surprise for me is that the large wheels don't look out of place on the small hull, despite the fact that they dwarf Michael, and the hull is no larger than that of Jessie II (same length, and only fractionally wider).

I put the cabin height at 2.4 m to match the wheels.
I put the engine amidships for weight-balance reasons.  It would be quite easy to step over a floor-level driveshaft with a safety cover.  There is space for the necessary supports for stub axles, and chain drives from the driveshaft to the axles.
The engine compartment and toilet/shower get the dead space, with no view, between the wheels.
The forward cabin gets forward and side views, and is the wheelhouse and guest lounge by day, and the master bedroom by night.  The double bifold doors link it to the front deck: great for party cruising.
The immediate front deck is sunk to hull level (a technique used on UK canal boats), but the forepeak is raised above a rope & anchor locker, and to provide convenient access to riverbanks when moored overnight.
The rear cabin gets stern and side views, and is the dining saloon by day, and the children's or guests' bedroom by night.  The table has a folding leaf to make it the right size for four people.  It fills the seat gap to make the lower bunk; an upper bunk lowers from the ceiling.
The rear deck is extended on a cantilever over the rudder, and provides a sheltered space by day, and a barbecue deck adjacent to the kitchen and dining saloon when entertaining.
The roof provides a sun deck, with convenient stairwell access.

Normal mooring would be bow in to the bank, keeping the wheels and rudder clear of rock or mud.  At high wharves, mooring alongside would work, with boarding via the roof and rear stairs.

The engine could go under the rear deck, but having a false floor for the dining saloon as well as amidships (2.1 m headroom instead of 2.4 m).  An automotive-style driveshaft could sit between the floor and the hull.  The fresh- and grey-water tanks would be relocated to the space shown as engine on the plan, adjacent to the toiler/shower and to the kitchen.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


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