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Thread: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

  1. #1
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    Question Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    Hello, l am a ship-spotter and have a question for a long time:

    I found that stern-wheel paddlers are all river boat, the stern-wheeler design is never used for any ocean ship but why? When l was young l believe the stern-wheeler can keep the power output more symmetrical than the side-wheeler when the ship in bad sea conditions, however on Wiki l cannot found any stern-wheeler design for ocean-going.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    I would think the reason is that in a rough sea, the stern wheel would be lifting out of the water. Side wheels would retain their bite.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    And welcome to the forum!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    The sea is far too dynamic, a stern wheel would-be smashed to peices in no time. It is nothing like a river where for the most part, a propulsion system is presented with essentially a flat conveyor of calm water to push against.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    There is a stern wheel propelled excursion boat in Harrisburg PA on the Susquehanna. The wheel is actually split and is used like twin screws to steer and spin the boat.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    When de starn go up,de bow go dung

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    i have always thought the reason for stern wheel propulsion is that rivers are very shallow
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    Many river boats, such as those plying the Hudson, were side-wheelers.


    Stern-wheelers were popular on the western rivers (Mississippi, Ohio, etc.) in part because they could come to shore bow-first for unloading without a regular quay.


    There were side-wheelers on western rivers, too. You want the weight of the engines in the center of the ship, so it makes sense to put the paddles nearby.
    I will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and I will listen very nicely and then go out and do exactly what I want! (Apologies to Lerner and Lowe.)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    A stern wheeler can have a shallower draft. Sometimes as little as two feet.

    So typically stern wheelers were used on the upper reaches of rivers, and side wheelers lower down.

    The exception was the Yangtze Kiang because stern wheelers could not navigate the rapids in the Gorges.

    Here is a Yangtze “Lower River Ship”







    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 01-20-2021 at 08:56 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    A common feature of river paddle steamers of both kinds was that cargo was carried on board and stowed, and unloaded in due course, by the stevedores. No cranes, no wheels.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post

    A fine example of the remarkably capable Chinese wheelbarrow there. A bit of a shame it wasn't one of the sailing versions though:


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    I’m no expert, but I’ve been off and on fascinated by paddle boats for a long time. I am just nerdy enough to have studied feathering blades in sidewheels, but not nerdy enough to have ever built one; yet.

    Anyway.

    Aside from the other reasons stated, a sternwheeler needs a bunch of buoyancy aft, and a big, square stern, to support the wheel; not generally the best shape for going to sea, usually.
    A sidewheeler can have any shape of stern, really, which allows the drive to be added to a wider variety of hull shapes. More sea kindly than a large square wall, surely.

    A sternwheeler is, generally, better at dealing with river shoals; better at driving over them safely and backing off them efficiently; as far as the literature I have read is concerned.

    The Delta Queen started her life plying the same river we play on today.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    Sternwheelers were used on the Columbia for some time. They could run from the mouth of the Columbia to Celilo Falls at The Dalles although venturing past the rapids at Cascade Locks (then simply "The Columbia Cascades") took some balls. The photo below is the "Hassalo" running downriver with a lot of spectators. She was allegedly clocked at nearly 60 MPH with the current.
    440px-Steamboat_Hassalo_running_Cascades.jpg

    The rapids were circumvented with locks and later inundated when Bonneville Dam was built. The locks are still there, though inoperable and the currents where the rapids were is still formidable. The pol above has become a mecca for windsurfers, kiteboarders and the home to the sailing portion of the Gorge Games. Summer will see large numbers of 29'ers, 49'ers, Lasers, Moths, et al playing in the Gorge winds. The pool also hosts the "Double Dammed" race, from Bonneville to The Dalles dam.
    Last edited by Hugh MacD; 01-20-2021 at 02:58 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    A stern wheeler can have a paddle wheel that is the full width of the boat, but doesn't dig deep into the water. If the boat has a shallow hull and a shallow wheel, the boat can pass through shallows in rivers where there may be shoals.

    In the sea, the wheel needs to dig in deeper into the water to allow for the rocking and pitching of the vessel. Wheels positioned near to the centre of rotation (centre of mass) of the ship will stay in the water a more consistent depth as the ship pitches and rolls. Therefore, the wheels are not subject to sudden huge changes of load.

    Also, of course, a big broad wheel at the rear of the boat would be very vulnerable in a following sea.

    Some early seagoing paddle steamers had a wheel half way along the boat, and in the centreline - sort of sticking out of where the keel would be. This was an inefficient use of space.

    They therefore developed paddle wheels at each side. This gives the option of steering by one going forward and the other reversing. Side-mounted paddle wheels can be protected from breaking waves by a cover similar to a "mudguard" or "fender" on a car or an old motorbike.

    Another advantage of the side mounted paddle wheel is you can put the mass of the engine(s) centrally in the hull and have a short and very direct drive to the wheel.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    Thanks everyone although l still looking up for any possible offshore stern paddler in history.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    Interesting all- I n the story of the loss of the side wheeler Central America (became famous as the "Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea") the survivors recounted how in the cross swell in the hurricane somewhere east of Hatteras the side wheels would alternately loose their grip and eventually broke the drive shafts. Another famous side wheeler loss in New England is the steamer Portland in the so-called Portland gale of 1898. She left port of Boston in winter bound for Portland, Maine, but was caught by a rapidly developing gale with snow and likely lost control in high seas and winds. No survivors to tell the tale. Makes me grateful for a fire and a warm bunk.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    In BC sternwheelers were used on rivers and larger lakes , there is still one operating on the Fraser River for entertainment rental .

    The most famous side wheeler on the BC coast was the Beaver https://johncrittenden.com/the-ss-beaver/ . Built along the Thames it set sail 1835 for Fort Vancouver WA then engines and boiler assembled. It consumed 1 cord of wood for every mile . Beaver served along the BC coast for 52 years .

    Nice sternwheeler documentary on the Yukon boats .
    Last edited by Three Cedars; 01-25-2021 at 05:06 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Is ocean-going paddler never use stern-wheel?

    That is a nice film.
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