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Thread: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

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    Default Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    Hello, I am a 63 year old man who never went to sea. It was on the list. Just never got around to it. So I gathered up a lot of books, both non fiction and fiction. Hope you gents can fill in the blanks I have.
    Long story short I was born with Cerebral Palsy. Hitchhiked nine years in the late 70s and early 80s. Worked carnivals in the summer and snow skied in the winter. Finished university and tutored math for 20 years. Now I design computer games as a hobby. Thought writing a novel about the sea as the only way to experience that wilderness.

    So, I am looking for any info on ss Skeldergate or SS Eskdalegate around 1930 or later. I have deck plans. Some of the notation are obscure to me. Bought an old merchant marine handbook that helps. Hope this forum can answer the rest.

    good to meet ya'all

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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    May assist a bit ?
    Cheers

    Screw Steamer ESKDALEGATE built by Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in 1930 for Turnbull, Scott Shipping Co. Ltd. - Turnbull, Scott & Co., London, Cargo (clydeships.co.uk)

    Was in Convoy MKS31 from Oran to UK. ( This was 1943 so dont know if its the same one )
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 13th January 2021 at 07:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    thanks for the info

    two things 1) If I send pics of the deck plan, can you identify some objects? 2) What sub forum should we continual this thread?

    I love this project. Just learning the lingo is a blast!

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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    Post what you have in this same place, and there are those i am sure who could assist.
    Cheers
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website

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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    Excellent

    I know tramp steamers took on bulk cargo. Would they take on machinery, crates, barrels for one charter? If they did, would they put up bulkheads and/or lash the cargo down?

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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Vernon View Post
    Post what you have in this same place, and there are those i am sure who could assist.
    Cheers
    Vernon mate, how do you do it, always you come up with the goods mostly in record time and unlike some at first go.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Burroughs View Post
    Some of the notation are obscure to me. Bought an old merchant marine handbook that helps. Hope this forum can answer the rest.

    good to meet ya'all


    Both Doc and I have added early basic info, can you please be more specific on what else is actually required.

    EG: Some of the notation are obscure to me etc.

    Regards, Keith.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Burroughs View Post
    Excellent

    I know tramp steamers took on bulk cargo. Would they take on machinery, crates, barrels for one charter? If they did, would they put up bulkheads and/or lash the cargo down?
    Frank, you could go into hundreds, if not thousands of technical pages of what ships can and cannot do, so with respect try not to get bogged down in too much technical detail, as your average reader may be put off and the professional seafarer may nit pick (that's our nature on things nautical, as I feel sure it is in other professions) whether we mean to or not.

    Tramp vessels by their very description 'Tramp' will take anything anywhere at any time world wide, most in the era you are thinking about were tweendeckers, which means they had one or more decks below the main weather deck. This made them ideal for carrying a multitude of cargoes including all those you asked about which is known as 'General Cargo'. Stowage and lashing would depend on the cargo but in the main with large crates of machinery we used a system called 'Tomming-Off' which meant we stowed it as much as possibly could be done next to the vessels steel bulkheads or hull frames, we then used timber usually 2" x 2" 32 x 3" 3" x 4" etc, depending on weight to wedge it against adjacent crates or ship's structure, we would then use wires around the crate to act against the tomms so the crate was compressed into position, these wires would tightened by using a Spanish Windlass, which was a piece of wood placed twixt the wires and turned round and round until the wires became taught, the wood was then lashed against the the wire to stop it untwisting. We did all this to prevent any damage to ship or cargo, you always prepared for bad weather, whether it was anticipated or not, and safety of ship and crew were priority, or should have been.

    Now you see why you don't want to go into too much detail, as people have to wake you up!

    Please feel free to ask away, we're here to help, still 999.99 pages to go!!

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    Default Re: Writing a novel featuring 1930 Burnyisland Economy Steamer

    So true that the technical step by step would slow the narration down and turn off readers. The information helps me visualize the crew working. I do worry about how much slang to add also. Enough to give the story flavor, but not so much as a glossary is needed.

    My questions about the SS Skeldergate deck plan will arrive in a few days. Almost done drawing them up. Using “British Ocean Tramps” vol one by P. N. Thomas book as a guide.

    In 1935 did a seamen use union halls when looking for a ship? Or did they go up to the ship and ask for a job?

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