Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grey Blackadder's Clyde Puffer

[14:06] Tasha Kostolany shouts: everyone I really was thrilled when Grey accepted my invitation to come talk to us, his Puffer boat here is beautifully built. So without anymore tado I turn the mic over to Grey

[14:07] Grey Blackadder: First of all, I’d like to welcome everybody that has come here today/night/this afternoon and to thank our Boat Show organizers for making all this possible, and for giving me this opportunity to show off a bit. I think you will all agree that there is plenty to engage anyone interested in messing about on the water at any level here at the show.

[14:09] Grey Blackadder shouts: “The Millie” is my affectionate interpretation of one of a whole race of small steam driven cargo ships that plied their trade between the Islands of the West Coast of Scotland and the Firth of Forth in the East for most of the Twentieth century.

[14:09] Grey Blackadder shouts: “Clyde Puffers” provided vital supply functions to the islands off the West Coast of Scotland and beyond. Limited to 66 feet by the size of the locks on the Forth & Clyde Canal, the majority of “Puffers” were built either at Maryhill in Glasgow, or at the landlocked port of Kirkintilloch on the canal itself.

[14:10] Grey Blackadder shouts: They earned the epithet of Puffer from the early practice of exhausting the piston stroke directly to the funnel, resulting in a “puff” of steam for each stroke of the engine. Early designs had an open steering position, but the addition of a wheelhouse in the early twentieth century resulted in the characteristic appearance of the Puffer.

[14:10] Grey Blackadder shouts: The original Puffers were limited in range, relying on a crew of three, Master, Mate and an Engineer. Drawing plentiful boiler water straight from the canal they were largely restricted to the Forth and Clyde Canal itself and the river estuaries beyond. These were the so-called “inside” boats of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

[14:10] Grey Blackadder: The addition of a condenser enabled greater range over salt water, and larger “outside” boats of up to 88 feet with a crew of four emerged to service the Outer Hebridean islands. Having an almost flat bottom, Puffers could be beached to load and unload cargo in the absence of a pier, and were known to carry everything from coal, sheep, grain and whisky to and from the islands.

[14:11] Grey Blackadder shouts: In 1939 the Admiralty chose the traditional Puffer pattern as its VIC (Victualling Inshore Craft). Largely built in English yards and carrying only an identifying number (VIC 32 survives) these little ships saw service throughout the fleet, as far north as Scapa Flow in the Orkneys and were readily absorbed into the post -war Puffer fleet.

[14:11] GeorgeW Carver: That would be "Scotch"

[14:11] Love Markova: What did they burn to boil the water?

[14:11] Grey Blackadder: Coal, although they could raise a small trisail between the derrick boom and mast if they ran out of fuel

[14:12] disisme Misfit: woot
[14:12] GeorgeW Carver: Hm

[14:12] Grey Blackadder shouts: Economics, fashions and transport systems change, and the Puffers declined road transport began to dominate. A number of vessels still remain, notably the aforementioned VIC 32 which still offers cruising holidays in the West of Scotland, its capacious hold having been converted to cabin space.

[14:12] Owen Oyen: /when they went from freshwater to salt water, were they still limited to freshwater in boiler or did they tolerate the corrosion from saltwater?

[14:13] Grey Blackadder: freshwater only Owen
[14:13] Sacha Swindlehurst: i think the condenser was part of that>?
[14:13] GeorgeW Carver: [yes], That's why the y added a condenser

[14:13] Hia Anatra: these wouldn't be very good in rough water, would they?

[14:14] Grey Blackadder: actually they were quite Seakindly, low center of gravity and tub shaped

[14:14] Grey Blackadder shouts: “The Millie” was my second attempt at a “large build” and was begun about a year ago when I was hunting around for something to make after building a new flagship store for my in-world business. A “Clyde Puffer” seemed an ideal choice as the steel built, slab sided hull lends itself to construction with basic prims, although I very quickly came to find the 256 prim link limit an irritation, especially when trying to apply the level of detail I wanted in the final realization, and some of you may have spotted the necessary compromises.

[14:15] Grey Blackadder shouts: My initial approach to the design and construction was to make a model – a static “museum piece” that went as far as possible to record the actual vessel. This made sense on two levels, in RL, I am a reformed railway modeller, and I have spent much of my adult life working either in Education or in the Museum Service – so it’s sort of the way I think. The idea of actually “driving” The Millie only came when a friend of mine saw her and gave me a script thought might work. There then followed a crash course in vehicle dynamics and limitations and a planned collaboration with a very helpful and skilled lady programmer to get The Millie “into the water”.

[14:15] Grey Blackadder shouts: Subsequent to this, RL concerns have intruded and the project stalled about August, since which time I have been involved in a couple of other things. It is thanks to Tasha’s interest in [it and the sharp eye of Manul Rotaru who brought it to Tasha’s attention that ] “The Millie” is here today, and I must say that I am amazed at the many things people have said about “The Millie”.

[14:16] Grey Blackadder shouts: So what of the future? Clearly “The Millie” is far from a dead project, neither is she complete, so over the next few weeks I plan to review the both the “Rez and Sit” scripted component, - there are a number of assets in place for this, Crew Poseballs, particle generators for smokestack and wake effects etc, and the hull itself. I have learned a little more about building since I started work on the hull, and there are things that can be improved.

[14:16] Grey Blackadder shouts: The plan is to release a boxed version, probably in the New Year, comprising a Scripted Vehicle, an Attachment that can also be rezzed as a dockside model, and a collection of accessories to fling about. One of the key qualities of the Clyde Puffer was individuality and I plan to make the hull copy/modifiable so people can personalise their Puffers, and with that in mind, there will also be an owners Club.

[14:17] Grey Blackadder shouts: As for the next project, perhaps it is time to return to the sea. In the last year I have built a boatyard, a working watermill and a whisky distillery. I find recent developments in one-piece sculpted hulls really exciting, and have been toying for some time with the idea of a building a Fifie – one of the traditional lug-sailed fishing boats of the Scottish East Coast, but please, don’t hold your breath!

[14:17] Grey Blackadder: now, perhaps I can field any more questions?

[14:18] Grey Blackadder: possibly dis

[14:18] Hia Anatra: for us land-lubbers, what does "lug-sail" mean?

[14:19] Grey Blackadder: a lug sail ahs a supporting boom at the top that crosses the mast at an angle. they are awkward because you have to take them down to tack or gybe.

[14:18] disisme Misfit: are you gonna have a scripted version?
[14:18] Sacha Swindlehurst: what kind of scripting will you apply? will you use a hull that should be attached from inventory or some auto-attach like

[14:20] Grey Blackadder: scripting I will need tot talk to a specialist about

[14:20] Sacha Swindlehurst: ic.. you may find a few of them at the boat show :)
[14:20] disisme Misfit: Grey, pointside has a kit that will let you do an autoattach....

[14:18] Love Markova: where did your colour scheme come from?

[14:19] Grey Blackadder: colour scheme is based on photos of real puffers

[14:20] Grey Blackadder: the Group will be caleed "Friends of Millie" and will be live in 24 hours

[14:18] Grey Blackadder: certainly I'll sculpt the Fifie

[14:21] Owen Oyen shouts: On the RL boat, was the steering wheel vision blocked by smokestack?

[14:21] Grey Blackadder: yes it does Owen, though some were offset

[14:21] Owen Oyen shouts: /cool, it looks normal to be blocked

[14:21] Azure Blackadder: Why is the Puufer calledMillie?
[14:21] disisme Misfit: the captains wife :)

[14:21] Grey Blackadder: I wanted a a name that sounded authentic, and took my cue from "The Maggie" and at the time I was building her the real Millie came into our lives

[14:22] Tasha Kostolany shouts: "The Maggie" the movie was there a Puffer in that?
[14:22] aelwyn Fields: oh yes brilliant movie

[14:24] Sacha Swindlehurst: very nice boat :)
[14:24] Sacha Swindlehurst: thanks for the info
[14:24] Grey Blackadder: ty Sacha
[14:24] Tasha Kostolany shouts: any other questions for Grey?
[14:24] Hia Anatra: thanks, very nicely done!
[14:25] Love Markova: Thanks Grey, beautiful boat and nice talk

[14:25] disisme Misfit: its a flat bottom with raised keel grey?

[14:25] Grey Blackadder: a very slighht deadfall dis, enough to be able to beach safely

[14:25] Sacha Swindlehurst: it s cute i can t wait for the tiny version :D
[14:25] JED Dastardly: good job grey looks nice!
[14:25] GeorgeW Carver: Thanks, Grey
[14:25] Love Markova: lol

[14:25] Tasha Kostolany shouts: I think we all love it Grey and I personally really enjoyed hearing about the history of it I know everyone here did too, I'll get this posted at the website
[14:25] Manul Rotaru: Thatnks Grey, what a great ship!

[14:26] disisme Misfit: sculpting it.....would be fast...gimme a yell if you want any help on it

[14:28] GeorgeW Carver: How close to scale is the MILLIE, Grey?

[14:29] Grey Blackadder: not that far off 20m is about right

[14:29] GeorgeW Carver: So these craft were pretty small - just a few tonnes DW

[14:30] Grey Blackadder: it's the canal locks that limit her even the outside boats were limited to 88 feet because of the Crinan Canal

[14:30] GeorgeW Carver: What beam & draft?

[14:31] Grey Blackadder: honestly can't remember oh here: 18 foot beam and4 foot draught. That’s the VIC 32's spec

[14:32] GeorgeW Carver: I bet she'd roll like a mother in a seaway

[14:32] Grey Blackadder: it's a barge with attitude really

[14:26] Grey Blackadder: ty very much, everyone

[14:26] Grey Blackadder: oh and the distillery is real

[14:28] Tasha Kostolany: put a sign out that gives a landmark to your docks Grey every sailor would love seeing it

[14:26] aelwyn Fields: ty for the talk Grey Blackadder, beautiful build
[14:26] Sacha Swindlehurst purrs softly
[14:26] Sacha Swindlehurst: ^VV^^V^PuRRrSss^VV^^V
[14:27] Elisha Paklena: *purrs*

[14:27] Grey Blackadder: ty again

[14:27] GeorgeW Carver: Where is your shipyard? Is it in your picks?

[14:27] Grey Blackadder: nnear the Distillery George

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