Confederation Marine Modellers

Nautical lore . . . .  for modellers whose interest extends to ships, the sea, the lakes, and the men and women who work and play in them.

          The spritsail barge developed on the River Thames from lightering barges. Originally there were no deep-sea docks in London and trade into the city had to be transferred from sea-going vessels into lighters to get up into the city centre. Because the Thames is a tidal river all the way through London, these barges could be unpowered other than a single steering "sweep" and  could drift in and out with the tide. But adding a sail, and enough crew to control it, could be a trade advantage.

In recognition of Canada's Merchant Navy Remembrance Day on September 3, the following story is presented.

This topic became a regular feature in the club’s newsletter each year. However, we have learnt that it has been appearing in the wrong month. In 2003 the Canadian Parliament created Merchant Navy Remembrance Day which designated September 3 as a day to recognize the contributions and sacrifice of Canadian merchant mariners. 

Surprising thought it may seem, there were two, and only two, ocean liners registered at Toronto, a port they never even saw.

Surprising thought it may seem, there were two, and only two, ocean liners registered at Toronto, a port they never even saw.

In 1901, the American-owned Niagara, St. Catherines & Toronto Railway  established the Niagara, St. Catherines & Toronto Navigation Company following the purchase of the Lakeside Navigation Company. Through Lakeside Navigation the new navigation company obtained its first two steamships, the 348-ton Lakeside and the 637-ton Garden City. They allowed the company to move into the Toronto market, providing tourists for the amusement park and passengers for the railway many of whom were no doubt bound for Niagara Falls. 

Toronto's Atlantic ocean liners

In the late 19th century, the only way for rail vehicles to cross the Detroit River was a train ferry. One of these would make a realistic and relatively simple model to build. Their decks were flat with neither sheer (the rise towards bow and stern) nor camber (higher at the centreline than at the sides.) The hull could be in the shape of a scow, a rectangular box with flat sloping ends.

The loss of the MV Beignon, and its Canadian connection.

The meeting of the Foundation Franklin and the Beaverford.

 It is not a commonly known fact that sternwheelers were used more extensively in British Columbia than in any other part of North America even though they are popularly associated with the Mississippi River area of the United States. It was no accident that such a high concentration of these vessels was found here. They could do things that no other type of boat could do, and they could do it profitably. Early vessels were built with a wooden hull which was not only extremely buoyant but fairly easy to repair.

During 1942, less than 11 months into WW2, the United States Navy had lost four front line aircraft carriers due to enemy engagements. A further two aircraft carriers were damaged, but were repaired at Pearl Harbor and returned to service. These early engagements and losses emphasized that carriers would be the backbone of the war in the Pacific. While American industry would build carriers and their airplanes, it was up to the US Navy to train the pilots and crews that would be necessary to make the ships and planes an effective fighting force. The Navy was hard pressed to come up with a solution to solve the training dilemma.

Surprising thought it may seem, there were two, and only two, ocean liners registered at Toronto, a port they never even saw.

Take a bow.

The unique tale of the SS Warimoo

Convoy SL36 left the busy anchorage of Freetown harbour at 13.00 hrs on 16th June 1940. The convoy was in two sections, ships bound for Liverpool, Glasgow and the Bristol Channel being on the port (left) wing, while those in the starboard (right) wing were heading for London and East Coast ports. Of all the ships in Convoy SL36 there was at least one most unsuited to be in its company. The 5,218-ton Beignon, owned by Morel Ltd. of Mountstuart Square, Cardiff, built in 1939, was outwardly a conventional 5-hatch cargo ship of her day. However her engine room housed a powerful diesel engine built by William Doxford of Sunderland, Britain’s experts in the marine diesel field.

Surprising thought it may seem, there were two, and only two, ocean liners registered at Toronto, a port they never even saw.

The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of the mid-Pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia. The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought the master, Captain John Phillips, the result. The Warrimoo's position was latitude 0 degrees x 31 minutes north and longitude 179 degrees x 30 minutes west. The date was 30 December 1899.  “Know what this means?”, First Mate Payton broke in, “we're only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line.”

Battleships and the end of an era.

          Have you ever looked at a possible plan for your next model and been a little wary of some tight triple compound curves on the stem, or wondered how to carve a bow section with a nice sharp (and straight) stem? Well here's the ship for you.....

          Imagine a ship with no pointy ends. A perfectly flat bottom, and not much of that fiddly superstructure stuff to fret about. It had lots of boilers and engines and things - 8 engines driving six propellers, so you'll get lots of practice on shaft alignment. It sported two big guns and two tall smokestacks.

         The roller ship was an unconventional and unsuccessful ship design of the late nineteenth century, which attempted to propel itself by means of large wheels. Two such vessels were constructed and found to be impractical.

Round ships.

The Battle of the Java Sea

Robert Allan Ltd.

Train Ferries

Surprising thought it may seem, there were two, and only two, ocean liners registered at Toronto, a port they never even saw.

The 'eagle eye' of Peter recently spotted an unusual ship in Hamilton harbour. It interested Peter because it was smaller than the ships we usually see in the harbour. What turned out to be more interesting was the shape of its bow.  The ship is the VikingBank and it was built by Ferus Smit at one of their shipyards in Groningen and Leer (Germany). The only information they give out about the bow design is: Special bow form with vertical stem profile and sharp waterlines without bulb results in less resistance at moderate speeds while having more displacement and cargo hold volume. Sharp entrance angles and less bow flare reduce speed loss in seaway." 

Surprising thought it may seem, there were two, and only two, ocean liners registered at Toronto, a port they never even saw.

Surprising thought it may seem, there were two, and only two, ocean liners registered at Toronto, a port they never even saw.

Sternwheelers of the Okanagan

Offshore powerboat racing is a type of racing by ocean-going powerboats, orignally point-to-point racing.
          In most of the world, offshore powerboat racing is led by the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) regulated Class 1 and Powerboat GPS (formerly known as Powerboat P1). In the USA, offshore powerboat racing is led by the American Power Boat Association (APBA) /UIM. The sport is financed by a mixture of private funding and commercial sponsors.
          In 1903, the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland, and its offshoot, the Marine Motor Association, organised a race of auto-boats. The winner was awarded the Harmsworth Trophy. Offshore powerboat racing was first recognised as a sport when, in 1904, a race took place from the south-eastern coast of England to Calais, France. In the United States, the APBA was formed soon thereafter and the first U.S. recorded race was in 1911, in California.

The business was founded in 1930 when Robert Allan commenced private practice as a consulting Naval Architect after serving as Technical Manager of a local major shipyard. A 1907 graduate naval architect from the University of Glasgow, he was responsible for numerous enduring designs produced for the growing British Columbia fishing fleet and coastal ferry services, among others. His reputation for quality designs was enhanced by the notable, classic ocean-going motor yachts Meander (1934) and Fifer (1939), both of which are still in active service on the Pacific Coast.

Thames spritsail barges - Part 1 & 2.

Lest we forget the merchantmen.

Lest we forget the fishermen – “Harry Tate’s Navy”

Offshore Powerboat Racing

Roller ships

Niagara, St. Catherine's and Toronto Navigation Co.

USS Wolverine - the Great Lakes aircraft carrier.

Construction of modern super yachts. 

One year ago there were headlines in the press that three WW2 warships had vanished from the sea bed. They were sunk by the Japanese during the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942, but what was the Battle of the Java Sea, and why was the disappearance of these ships in the news?
          Allied navies suffered a disastrous defeat at the hand of the Imperial Japanese Navy, on 27 February 1942, and in secondary actions over successive days. The American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM) Strike Force commander— Dutch Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman—was killed. The aftermath of the battle included several smaller actions around Java, including the smaller but also significant Battle of Sunda Strait. These defeats led to Japanese occupation of the entire Netherlands East Indies.

Nikola Tesla, the first R/C model boater

One of the interesting aspects of modelling a historical  vessel is that you can usually find reference to its history somewhere. It is not so often that you can find a mention of a meeting between two of the vessels modelled by club members. This is the case with Bill M.'s Foundation Franklin and Roy's  Beaverford. ​The story is found in Farley Mowat's book, "Grey Seas Under".