Paddle wheel question

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by dick stave, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. dick stave
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    dick stave Senior Member

    Do two independently driven stern wheels offer a significant advantage in steering? And if so, is there an issue of synchronization ? I was looking at the old Atkin's designs ( Gwen O' the river, and Lady of the lake) and was thinking a small engine driving a hydraulic pump coupled to a reduction gear thru a belt/sheave final drive would be a nice arrangement, the flow control valves taking care of trimming speeds and reversing duties.
  2. Guest625101138

    Guest625101138 Previous Member

    Even the shallow rudder will generate considerably more steering moment than offset drives. There is no doubt you will steer it but you will need to slow down to make a tight turn. May even have one wheel in reverse.

    A side wheeler will turn better but then you are adding a lot of beam.

    There is a very slight amount of vertical force on the wheel as the blades exit and enter. There is a remote possibility that these could get in perfect tune with the roll frequency and set up a roll but I have never heard of the problem. If it was an issue it would be more apparent on a side wheeler.

    If you do get around to making something make the wheels as big as will fit in. Most paddlewheels I have seen proposed for home build are too small. The one shown in the Atkin plan certainly has the right proportions. If you need to fit a central bearing then you will reduce blade area unless you compensate by setting the outboard bearings further out.

    Rick W
  3. Kay9
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Kay9 1600T Master

    Having driven a few, I concur with Rick holeheartedly. Sidewheelers offer good manuverability but add LOTS of beam. Independant operating stearnwheels offer allmost no manuverability, save what you get with the rudder. Go with 1 stearnwheel and BIG rudders.

  4. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Location: Oriental, NC

    tom28571 Senior Member

    I guess paddle wheelers vary in their response to steering. My experience is on a 100', 100+ ton dual sternwheeler.

    Wheels chain driven by 300hp cats.
    One set of rudders aft of hull but forward of wheels.
    One set of rudders aft of wheels operated hydraulically.

    Forward rudders completely useless. Aft rudders used for most steering underway but not completely effective maneuvering around docks and in locks. Independent wheels often used at low speed and in cross winds around docks and locks. Can swing bow with wheels set forward and reverse at zero speed when rudders would only swing stern and drive boat forward. Sometimes a combination of rudders and wheel steering worked best.

    Wheels also proved useful when holding position on the upstream side of a bridge waiting for it to open. Rudders would work waiting for an opening going upstream but not downstream.
  5. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    It's nice to know that paddlers are still around, even when they're not driven by steam. I read that sidewheelers were useful in tidal estuaries with their ability to "walk" over shallow spots.
  6. Gilbert
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Gilbert Senior Member

    Sternwheelers with a single wheel are a lot more maneuverable than a conventional power boat with a single shaft and rudder so I don't know why you would want to make things more complicated than they need to be. They maneuver especially well in reverse.

  7. dick stave
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    Location: MISSION B.C. CANADA

    dick stave Senior Member

    Paddle wheel

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. There is no doubt that sometimes the old designs are best in their simplicity. I recently read "One Man's Wilderness" by Sam Keith which chronicles the life of Richard Proenneke building and living in a small cabin in Alaska. I live on the Fraser river in British Columbia which connects to Harrision lake ( 55,000 acres ) and could find the solitude and peace that this world lacks with such a craft. Again, thank-you.
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