Rowing speed of Joseph Francis Corrugated Metallic Life Boat

Discussion in 'Hydrodynamics and Aerodynamics' started by JF_Lifeboat, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. JF_Lifeboat
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    JF_Lifeboat JF Metallic Lifeboats

    Good Morning,

    I'm new to this forum and ended up here while preforming an internet search attempting to determine the rowing speed of an 1850's era Joseph Francis Corrugated Metallic Life Boat. I've spent sometime roaming the forum posts and I must say the level of knowledge here is staggering to say the least. I am hoping that someone might be willing to help me determine the information I seek.

    Best regards.
     
  2. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Can you show a picture or a link?
     
  3. JF_Lifeboat
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    JF_Lifeboat JF Metallic Lifeboats

    This is a sample copper sheet formed on dies he donated to the Smithsonian in 1885.

    http://amhistory.si.edu/onthewater/collection/AF_1645%2814%29.html

    [​IMG]

    A link to a patent: http://www.google.com/patents/US3974

    This is one of his “Metallic Life Surf Boat” found at the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society’s Old Schoolhouse Cultural Center:
    http://www.wilkensdesignstudio.com/gallinipper-historic-lifeboat-museum/

    [​IMG]

    From Toms River Seaport Society & Maritime Museum:
    Joseph Francis
    March 12, 1801 - May 20, 1893
    Thumbnail Sketch of an Inventor and Entrepreneur

    http://www.tomsriverseaport.org/josephFrancis.shtml

    "He invented the process of corrugation which allowed him to produce the Corrugated Metallic Life Boat, and the Corrugated Metallic Life-Car. By means of heavy dies and a hydraulic press he was able to corrugate iron and other metal plates. This corrugation of the metal plates stiffened them so that a light but perfectly strong boat could be built." "In 1843 he produced his first corrugated metal boat using the molding process with cast iron forms. The hull was made of 18 gauge galvanized sheet metal, riveted together."
     
  4. JF_Lifeboat
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    JF_Lifeboat JF Metallic Lifeboats

  5. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    I would think that corrugations in this direction would not significantly change the drag of a boat. You probably could use one of the free hull design programs to estimate the drag, if you could get some data on the basic shape of the boat.

    I am not a hydro-dynamicist (however that is spelled) but I am an Engineer and was very interested in the claim Francis invented corrugation. No information to the negative on that, I just never thought about it. That is a pretty sophisticated forming for that time. It sure would have been expensive I would think.
     
  6. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    JF_Lifeboat, are you interested in the maximum speed with a crew of skilled rowers in good shape, the average speed a crew of survivors could maintain for a length time, or something else.

    The major determining factors for speed are:
    1) waterline length
    2) rowing setup, in particular the number of oars which can be used effectively simultaneously
    3) crew

    A rough estimate of the maximum speed in knots is the square root of the waterline length in feet multiplied by 1.2, assuming the rowing setup and crew can get enough power to the water.
     
  7. JF_Lifeboat
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    JF_Lifeboat JF Metallic Lifeboats

    Excellent question, I was interested in the latter. Say twenty people in a boat, four oars, over possibly a day and a half.

    "The Francis boats were made out of two large of sheet iron bent between full-size matching dies into precise half-boats. They were then joined together by riveting along the midline. Thus, a seamless, double-ended craft without ribs or breasthooks resulted and the corrugations which afforded strength were squeezed right into the metal. Thwarts and air tanks fore and aft were added and the complete structure subjected to a galvanizing process by coating inside and out with molten zinc."
     
  8. NoEyeDeer
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    NoEyeDeer Senior Member

    Pretty tubby, heavily loaded, not a lot of power. Rough guess: about two knots, depending on conditions.
     
  9. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    The corrugated lifeboat would have to be similar to a wooden clinker construction in resistance, or maybe a little better, all else being equal.
     
  10. JF_Lifeboat
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    JF_Lifeboat JF Metallic Lifeboats

    Thanks everyone for your input, much appreciated.
     
  11. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Other factors in how far twenty people in a boat, four oars, can row in a day and a half is wind. With a good stern wind in moderate waves the boat will probably make better than a knot without anyone rowing. With strong wind on the bow and steep waves it might be difficult to keep from going backwards.
     
  12. JF_Lifeboat
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    JF_Lifeboat JF Metallic Lifeboats

    And ocean currents .........
     

  13. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    I design & build larger crew boats like this. As others have pointed out there are many variables. A more complete list of variables would look something like this.

    e.g.

    -Wind
    -Wave direction
    -Current/tide direction
    -Crew strength & endurance (plays a huge role all things aside)
    -Hull design

    At a glance I would say with a full boat and 4 muscle bound, well fed oarsmen this boat would top out at a max of 5 knots in a short sprint. Average cruise speed for better endurance would be 2 to 3 knots. That's just a guess.

    If you ride a good 3 knot current and a bit of a tail wind, just add that to the sprint or cruise speed. With mother nature on your side this boat could approach 8 knots.

    With a lighter boat (no passengers, just oarsmen) it will sit up higher in the water, have a narrower waterline and thus potentially reach 6 knots or so in a sprint in good weather conditions (smooth water, little wind).

    Hopefully you can extract from this what you want to know. It may be more expensive to do a full blown digital analysis than it would be to build a replica and give it a go (with a well fed, muscle bound crew of course...nothing less will do).:p
     
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