Boat gloat - or GPSing on the Delta Queen

Well, the great steamboat cruise from St. Louis to Cincinnati and GPS navigation event has come to a close. The waypoints I had located from DeLorme were dead on. At nom. 6 mph you have a lot of time to check location. Each waypoint where DeLorme showed docking facilities was centered on the dock. Pretty cool. That is the most long-range navigation my GPS 45 has ever done. I had 30 waypoints and was surprised to find the GPS will only take, I think, 22 waypoints per route. It took me a while to come to grips with that little surprise. So I divided the trip up into 2 sections of aprox 15 waypoints each. I need to look at the owners manual to see if it mentions anything about limited numbers of waypoints per route.

Trip was nice, food was good, engine performed flawlessly. The chief engineer, seeing my intense interest in his toy, took me under his wing and gave me the off-limits guided tour of the below decks auxiliary machinery and boiler room. (The boiler room is up front from the engine room - to equalize weight distribution) Directly below decks from the engine room is the condenser. There's not much to see - a large cylindrical vessel with a pipe going in, maybe 1 ft in diameter, carrying the exhaust from the low-pressure cylinder. River water, of course, is pumped through the condenser tubes. Condensate is collected and fed to a hot well with oil scrubbers for reintroduction to the boilers. What was amazing re. the conderser is that the centrifugal river-water pump, maybe 3 1/2 feet in diameter, is operated continuously by a small vertical single-cyl. steam engine of maybe 5 in. bore. The chief said the little engine is original, probably having worn out several pumps over the years.

The engines, driving cranks on each side of the paddlewheel are cross-compounded with the exhaust from the high-pressure cyl. going to a "receiver", (jacketed pressure-storage vessel), and thence into the low-pressure cyl. Main steam pressure is 200 psi before throttling into the high-pressure engine. Low-pressure cyl. input runs around 20 - 30 psi and this is augmented by (minus) 14 psi of vacuum provided by the condenser.

Our stateroom was on the cabin deck. It is said to be sometimes haunted by the ghost of Mary Greene, who died on board many years ago. MG was the owner and pilot after her husband died during the early history of the 80 year-old boat. As far as I could tell, MG made no visits during the 6 nights of our cruise.

Bob Swinney

Reply to
Robert Swinney
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Hey Bob, Thanks for sharing this. I grew up in Louisville, KY where there was an annual race between the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen. I am amazed every time I hear about the longevity of some of these steam engines. There are a couple of old steam engines here in Titusville, FL that used to run sawmills. I have picture here:

Unfortunately these are just roadside attractions and largely ignored. I would have loved to see them in working condition.

Reply to
Ron Thompson

Reply to
Robert Swinney

I'm so jealous;way cool!

Reply to
Tom Gardner

What brand/model of GPS?

I have a Magellan SporTrak that's about three years old- I use it all the time -like yesterday and today navigating around New York City, using my aunt's apartment as a datum. Handy as hell.

-Carl

Reply to
Carl Byrns

Garmin GPS 45. It was hot stuff 10 or 11 years ago. I like to say I've had GPS since GPS wasn't cool. But ONTOH, I'm an old fashioned guy that keeps a Nautical Almanac on hand just in case. I was into celestial navigation before I got the Garmin GPS 45. It was an easy step to go with GPS but I still admire those that can do it by the stars.

Reply to
Robert Swinney

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