Lost at Sea Part VI

Thursday, May 11, 2017 0 comments

An iron bound coast


Here is the next part of my serial story from our Role Play group The Airship's Messdeck.

You can start from the beginning here.

Previously Max and his crew are trapped, aboard a labouring steam trawler, in a massive storm raging across the North Sea. They have been battling the storm for days, the old Argo unable to steam through it and unable to run without being swamped by the merciless storm. 
A great wave breaking across the bow has broken the mast and smashed the front of the wheelhouse.
Max orders Iveta and Simpson to lash the remains of the mast to the rail to keep it from smashing in the hatch cover...

 Enjoy Part VI

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.
KJ



Lost at Sea
A serial story from The Messdeck.
Part VI
  by Kevin Jepson



    "Breakers Astern!"

    *Words to chill the heart of any sailor, especially in the dark of a subarctic night and close to an unseen lee shore!
    Max and Angus, teeth chattering and skin blue from the icy sea water blasting across them through the wreck of the pilothouse wall, struggle to keep the Argo's head into the massive Atlantic rollers.*

    Max, spluttering out sea water calls below "Lieutenant Bueckert!"

    Miss B.B. climbs quickly up the ladder from the cabin below "Yes? Sir"

    "I need you to  tell the Navigator to go aft and see if she can get an estimate of how far off the shore we are. Also, and this is important, unless the breakers are right under our ass... er stern... she is to take her time and try to determine if we are getting closer or we are holding our ground. Understood?"

    "I'll tell her."

    "Thank you and send Simpson up!"

    *As miss B.B. heads down the ladder Max can hear the hatch slam shut and soon Simpson is climbing up into the wreck of the wheelhouse. Seawater pours off his jacket and pools around him, his hands are shaking from the cold*

    Christ if we don't get out of this soon we'll freeze to death! If we aren't smashed and drowned first.

    "Simpson, get below to the Chirper, if it's still workable let me know the moment it gets shallow enough to anchor."

    "No point laddy!" says Mr Angus before Simpson can reply. "The coast hereabouts is steep to, you could have every link of chain out and you'd hit the rocks before the anchor touched bottom! Our only chance is to try to claw off. The wind is dropping maybe we can make some headway."

    Simpson looks at Max. "Sir?"

    *Max watches the waves breaking across the deck below, a grey glow in the darkness, it is starting to get lighter. The wind has definitely dropped but the rollers are even bigger than before and they are trying to push the Argo back every time one passes.*

    "Damn! Get below and check with the lads, make sure all is well with the engine. I'll try to give you some warning if the Navigator says we are going to hit the shore."

    "Aye aye Sir." Simpson gives a wan smile, "Least wise it's warmer down there!"

    Yes the wind is definitely less, and there are more stars, maybe we can actually see what we are in for now Max me lad.

    After what seems like an eternity Miss B.B. comes up the ladder and starts talking. Having memorized the message that Iveta had given her she starts counting on her fingers as she says, "Cannot tell how far off we are, nothing for scale. Seem to be holding at current distance neither approaching or receding. Breakers are continuous wall of surf except for a patch like river rapids... ah... she said 30 degrees Starboard Quarter?"

    "River rapids?"

    "Yes that is what she said. I asked her and she pointed it out to me, it is a lower patch in the surf, darker than the others, still very nasty looking to me though."

    "Very good, thank you Lieutenant. Get below and maybe see if you can get us some tea eh?"

    "Ok, we don't have any milk or sugar though, maybe I could put some medicine in it for you."

    Max laughs, shaking his head to get the sea water out of his eyes. "Aye ma'am that would be perfect! Make sure Lt Baleva get's some first."

    "Ok. Yes she is very cold I think, even though she doesn't show it." And with that Miss B.B. drops below.

    *As the Argo continues to struggle against the waves there is a new sound, felt rather than heard. A low rumble, like the bass note of some fiendish pipe organ, the sound of surf against cliffs of hard Norwegian granite.*

Ahhhh, Spring time and a young man's fancy turns to...

Sunday, April 2, 2017 0 comments

Parasol Duelling!

The first formal competition of the season will soon be upon us!

The Third Annual Spring Regionals in Calgary Alberta, Canada.


Ladies grab your Parasols and join the fun.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.
KJ

For more information and to find out more about this great sport go to:
Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies

Click here for information on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling are here.


New Maddie Hatter Book!

Sunday, March 26, 2017 0 comments

A New Adventure.

Maddie Hatter, intrepid investigator and fashion reporter, has a new adventure coming out!

Check out this teaser trailer.



Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

More info on Maddie here at Jayne Barnard's blog:
Clockworks and Crime

Lost at Sea Part V

Friday, March 10, 2017 0 comments

An Ocean Greybeard.



Here is the next part of my serial story from our Role Play group The Airship's Messdeck.

You can start from the beginning here.

Previously Max and his crew are trapped in a massive storm raging in the North Sea. They had been sent out to continue the testing of the Chirper after the engines in their old airship had failed. The Argo, an aged steam fishing trawler, is a sturdy ship but she continues to be battered by the merciless storm.  Max has asked Iveta and Simpson to try and determine their location, fearful that they may be running out of sea room.

Enjoy Part V.

Keep your sightglass full. your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


Lost at Sea
A serial story from The Messdeck.
Part V
  by Kevin Jepson


 *Max is sitting at the table in the cabin of the Argo. Iveta has her charts laid out. Miss BB is tinkering with her aetherwave gear trying to bring in some kind of signal. Everyone looks tired, dirty, coal blackened, and salt encrusted. The Argo is still swinging and bucking in the seas but there has been a change in the waves since sunset, still chaotic but there is now a much larger heave and surge to them.*

Hanging tightly to the edge of the table he peers at Iveta's charts. "Are you sure about this Lieutenant?"

"Yes Sir. As best I can work out we must be north of the Skagerrak and off the coast of Norway."


"Hmmm, that explains the change in the seas then, we are getting the big rollers from the Atlantic here. They been streaming East from Greenland with nothing but the Faeroes to get in their way.  How close to the coast are we?"

"I haven't determined that yet Sir. We may be very close, hard to tell without a good sun or star sight."

Well done Lieutenant."

 "Thank you Sir."

 Max listens to the slight change in sound of the wind and seas roaring against the Argo's hull. "Well the storm seems to finally be letting us out of its grip and the sky should clear. Maybe we can finally make some headway West again."

 Miss BB, looking very worn but no longer quite so green, says, "Ohhhh I have a signal, very faint... oh dear... lost it again. Wasn't admiralty codes though."

 "Keep trying Lieutenant, will we be able to transmit again?"

 "No I don't think so... Sir. Too much salt in the machine."

"If you pick up anything that can help Lt Baleva get a better fix on our position that would help."

 "I will let her know if I do."

  Max smiles. "Thank you, glad to see you are beginning to get yer sea legs lieutenant."

 Miss BB smiles a thin tired smile. "I don't know why anyone would want sea legs, too wet and cold, I prefer my air legs."

  "Ha, and that be true an all..."

 *There is a sudden change in the motion of the Argo and all three grab the table to hold on, the bow is tossed upwards with a jerk. There is a sudden shout from both Mr Angus and Simpson at the wheel above, followed by the Argo almost lurching to a stop. The crash of something solid hitting the cabin is followed by the sound of breaking glass. A torrent of icy cold seawater floods down the ladder from the wheelhouse.*

 *Scrambling from the table Max grabs the base of the ladder up to the wheelhouse, sea water is still pouring down, he can hear the sound of the wind and waves above him.*

 Christ it's like the wheelhouse is gone...

Simpson shouts down from the wheelhouse "We lost the mast Sir. Mr Angus is down and the wheel is damaged Sir."

 "Lt Baleva get below and check with the lads, make sure that hatchway ain't breached or we'll be swimming!"

 "Aye aye Sir" and Iveta drops quickly down the ladder to the stokehold.

 *Max sees Miss BB desperately clinging to the table, her aetherwave gear, wrenched from the table, is spread across the floor in pieces.*

 "Oh, oh, sorry, sorry it came loose, oh my!"

 "Follow me up to help in the wheelhouse!"

 *Ms BB eyes the ladder still streaming with water nervously, her face is now white and she makes no move to release the table*

 "Lieutenant!" Max snaps at Miss BB.

 Then he says more calmly "Beulah, lets go and check Mr Angus and Phillip shall we, they will need our help."

 "Oh, oh yes I'll come too"

 *Max climbs the ladder, the wheelhouse in a shambles. The whole front of the wheelhouse is stove in. Simpson is struggling to hold the damaged wheel as best he can, Mr Angus is slumped against the wall of the wheelhouse. The wind and spray is blowing in as if they were on the open deck.*

 Max quickly checks Mr Angus, the old seaman is stunned but still conscious and trying to stand up, Max puts a hand on his shoulder, "Here now you old salt you just sit tight for a bit, Lt Bueckert will help you."

 Spitting out seawater Mr Angus says "Och we hit a greybeard that broke right in front of us, never saw it coming in the darkness. The mast broke at the deck, crane yard went right across the wheelhouse as it went."

 Miss BB comes up the ladder her eyes wide at the mess. "Oh my... oh my!"

"Lieutenant look after Mr Angus!"

 "Ok...Sir"

 *Max reaches the wheel and grabs the unbroken part and then looks to check the compass heading. The compass has been smashed! Looking out into the spray for the mast he sees it lodged  between the hatch and the rail. The foaming green seas are still washing across the deck with no sign of entering the hull.*

Thank the Lord it missed that hatch or we would be in Davey Jones' Locker already.

 "You OK Simpson?"

 "Aye Sir! Were a great block from the crane arm went right through us like a wrecking ball Sir."

 Iveta comes up the ladder from the cabin "All's secure below Sir! Bit of leakage through the deck but the pumps are handling it."

 "Good, take Simpson and one of the lads and try to lash that mast down so it can't come loose and punch a hole in us."

 "Aye aye Sir!"

 "Be careful... and no heroics!"

 Simpson grins at Max. "Who, us?" and then turns to follow Iveta down the ladder.

 *With the help of Miss BB Mr Angus gets to his feet and grabs the wheel.*

 "Lt Bueckert, go and assist the Navigator and Simpson if you can, but don't go on deck unless you have to, understood?"

 "Yes Sir." and she carefully heads down the ladder.

 *The seas continue to break across the deck but the wind has definitely slackened and Max catches glimpses of stars through the scudding clouds. While he and Mr Angus struggle to keep the Argo's head firmly aimed into the wind, Simpson and Iveta, carefully tied to the rail, begin to get lines across the bulk of the mast where it is wedged tight against the rail.*

Christ! It's like you never left the surface navy at all, we belong in the air not on the sea!

 *After a half hour in the churning icy water, Iveta and Simpson finally get the broken mast lashed down and start to head back towards the cabin.*

They both stop, staring aft,  pointing and waving Simpson shouts, "Breakers astern!"

Part VI is here.

Parasol Duelling

Sunday, February 12, 2017 0 comments

Ladies! Are you ready?

Grab your parasols and get ready to compete in the elegant sport of Ladies Parasol Duelling.





 For more information and to find out more about this great sport go to:
Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies

Click here for information on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling are here.


Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.
KJ

Lost at Sea Part IV

Monday, January 16, 2017 0 comments

Sea room.

Here is the next part of my serial story from our Role Play group The Airship's Messdeck.

You can start from the beginning here.

Previously Max and his crew are stuck in a massive storm raging in the North Sea. They had been sent out to continue the testing of the Chirper after the engines in their old airship had failed. The Argo, an aged steam fishing trawler, is a sturdy ship but she is being battered by the merciless storm.

Enjoy Part IV.

Keep your sightglass full. your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Lost at Sea
A serial story from The Messdeck.
Part IV
  by Kevin Jepson

 *Max and Mr Angus are at the kicking wheel, the forward windows of the wheelhouse streaming with rain and spray, the deck a welter of white foam. For several days the Argo has battled valiantly against the gale. Since the Argo's single cylinder engine doesn't have enough power to make headway against the wind and the waves the best Max and Mr Angus have been able to do is keep her bow pointed into the breaking seas. It is a constant struggle to keep the old trawler from falling off and broaching in the troughs. Not being able to maneuver has meant that the Argo is totally at the mercy of the storm, she is being dragged around in the North Sea as the storm spins.*

    Max, takes advantage of a slight slackening in the wave motion to flex his hand. "Bloody hell Angus, I've never seen a storm that didn't let up for a week or more like this."

    Mr Angus his eyes red rimmed from lack of sleep and the salt spray leaking through the wooden wall of the wheelhouse says "Och, Aye an it don't normally, but we ain't steaming ahead. We is just forcing ourselves into the storm. We can't run and we can't hide so it just spins us around and all."

    Max peering out into the storm says, "It's moving East, so we are going to run out of sea eventually!"

    "More an likely, an we can't see what's astern in all this murk."

    *The wheel gives a lurch and Max quickly grabs the spokes. Taking the lead from Mr Angus he forces the Argo back onto her course.*

    Well Max me lad even Iveta can't do any dead reckoning in all this. Not knowing where we are and with the flat lying shores of Denmark and Jutland to wash up on there's not a pleasant prospect for the future.

    *A quick glance at the swinging compass shows that the Argo is now trying to battle waves forcing her astern to the North East. At what speed over the bottom Max has no way to tell.*

    Now if we just had some way to tell how close to the shore we was... Ah Max you old fool, you got a hold full of gear that can do just that!

    "Lt Baleva!" Max calls down from the wheelhouse.

    *Iveta pops up the ladder from the cabin below, her face streaked with coal dust from helping to stoke the hungry firebox of the Argo's boiler.*

    "Sir?"

    "If we knew the depth and some idea of what the bottom was like could you get us an estimate of whereabouts we are from the charts."

    "I think so Sir."

    "Very good, get Simpson to fire up the Chirper and see if he can get some depths and maybe a profile from the recording cylinder."

    "Aye Aye Sir" and Iveta drops quickly out of sight down the ladder.

    At least we ain't totally blind an all.

Part V is here.

Titan Airship

Saturday, January 7, 2017 0 comments

Experimental airship like mine!

If you read my Practical Airship Design series the design might seem a bit familiar!

The airship described in this NASA paper uses hydrogen as a lift gas rather than steam but it is powered by a real equivalent of our core. Of course using hydrogen on Titan is really safe because there is no free oxygen anywhere to cause problems.


Fascinating.


"Radioisotope Stirling Engine Powered Airship for Atmospheric and Surface Exploration of Titan"

Author and Affiliation:   
Colozza, Anthony J.    (Vantage Partners, LLC, Brook Park, OH, United States);   
Cataldo, Robert L.    (NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH United States)
   
Abstract:
    The feasibility of an advanced Stirling radioisotope generator (ASRG) powered airship for the near surface exploration of Titan was evaluated. The analysis did not consider the complete mission only the operation of the airship within the atmosphere of Titan. The baseline airship utilized two ASRG systems with a total of four general-purpose heat source (GPHS) blocks. Hydrogen gas was used to provide lift. The ASRG systems, airship electronics and controls and the science payload were contained in a payload enclosure. This enclosure was separated into two sections, one for the ASRG systems and the other for the electronics and payload. Each section operated at atmospheric pressure but at different temperatures. The propulsion system consisted of an electric motor driving a propeller. An analysis was set up to size the airship that could operate near the surface of Titan based on the available power from the ASRGs. The atmospheric conditions on Titan were modeled and used in the analysis. The analysis was an iterative process between sizing the airship to carry a specified payload and the power required to operate the electronics, payload and cooling system as well as provide power to the propulsion system to overcome the drag on the airship. A baseline configuration was determined that could meet the power requirements and operate near the Titan surface. From this baseline design additional trades were made to see how other factors affected the design such as the flight altitude and payload mass and volume.

Publication Date:     Jul 01, 2014

Keep your sightglass filled, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.
KJ

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