Tay sandboats

Weyport
30th October 2010, 17:36
Hi
Has anybody sailed in / knowledge of the Tay sandboat trade which included the follow vessels:- Harry Ford. Taysand. Inchmohr. Middlebank (two of) . Taybuoy. Harfat. Isabel. Islandmagee. Archroyal. Edith. Dunglass. Deneside. Dunleith. Jesmond. Linite. DavidP. etc etc.
Paul

Derek Roger
31st October 2010, 23:56
Hi
Has anybody sailed in / knowledge of the Tay sandboat trade which included the follow vessels:- Harry Ford. Taysand. Inchmohr. Middlebank (two of) . Taybuoy. Harfat. Isabel. Islandmagee. Archroyal. Edith. Dunglass. Deneside. Dunleith. Jesmond. Linite. DavidP. etc etc.
Paul

Hi look in my Gallery and there is a picture of one I took in the ,60's .

You may be able to identify her.
Regards Derek

Weyport
19th December 2010, 15:49
Thanks Derek. I'm almost certain that she is the Glen Helen being one of some 70 sand boats which worked in the Tay's sand trade over the years. She was the first suction dredger to be acquired by the Tay Sand Company. She appears to have her dredge pipe over the side in the photo so is probably loading for either Dundee of Perth. Rgds. Paul

allantcondie
14th February 2011, 17:51
I've always had an interest in these, having lived for a lot of my life in Perth. I even have a 1/4" model of Glen Helen which actually works!

Any contributer who would like to contact me to share information please send me a personal message.


I've threatened to do a book on the subject for years but lack of photos is a problem. If you look at my gallery you will find some.

Scurdie
14th February 2011, 18:40
You might find some information in the book 'Making Passage to Perth' by John Aitken. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy to hand.

Derek Roger
14th February 2011, 22:03
I've always had an interest in these, having lived for a lot of my life in Perth. I even have a 1/4" model of Glen Helen which actually works!

Any contributer who would like to contact me to share information please send me a personal message.


I've threatened to do a book on the subject for years but lack of photos is a problem. If you look at my gallery you will find some.

Very nice of Glen Helen and your model looks real ; wonderfull job .
Does the suction dredge and pump work as well .
Tongue in cheek . Derek

gil mayes
18th February 2011, 19:05
The man to contact on the subject of Tay sand dredgers is/was a member - Alan Condie. Try him with a PM.
Gil.

allantcondie
19th February 2011, 00:23
Yes, Glen Helen actually pumps sand - I got her original plans plus the SWSG conversion details in 1968 from David Reid who was then the Manager of the Tay Sand operation when it was owned by Smith Hood. There are two pumps, one pumps the sand in and another removes the excess water from the sand tank.

The pumps by the way are 12 volt car windscreen washer pumps which when operated at 6 volts just run at the right speed and they are also self priming.

Derek Roger
19th February 2011, 00:55
Yes, Glen Helen actually pumps sand - I got her original plans plus the SWSG conversion details in 1968 from David Reid who was then the Manager of the Tay Sand operation when it was owned by Smith Hood. There are two pumps, one pumps the sand in and another removes the excess water from the sand tank.

The pumps by the way are 12 volt car windscreen washer pumps which when operated at 6 volts just run at the right speed and they are also self priming.

Wow that is fantastic . You must have gone to Harris Academy to be able to figure all that out

Cheers Derek .

allantcondie
19th February 2011, 09:38
Not Harris Academy but Perth Academy. My original Glen Helen was to 4mm scale and then I built a bigger one.

The GH caused a great sensation at a hobbies exhibition in the 1980s when I had it in a tank dredging sand all afternoon. We wired it up to an external transformer for the duration.


The advantage of suction dredging is that the sand comes up washed and graded whereas using a grab it has to be put through a washer and grader on shore.

allantcondie
19th February 2011, 13:07
Sand Dredging on the Tay – the technicalities. The traditional method of sand dredging on the Tay involved the use of a grab. The usual pattern was the chandelier variety, which was opened by virtue of a catch on the grab making contact with a square frame suspended from the derrick. The usual steam winch was employed to hoist and lower the grab,
Luffing the derrick was a problem, and could be speeded up by using the warping ends on the winch. In the case of some vessels, an additional winch was added with a luffing line to one side of the vessel only, which meant that dredging and unloading could only take place on the side of the vessel to which the luffing line was rigged.
In an attempt to grade the cargo, a vee shaped wire mesh screen was fitted over the hold, which allowed a certain amount of screening, the normal practice was to put the sand through a shore screening plant.
The cargo was obviously water bound, and it was normal practice to have a cofferdam in the hold to allow water to drain in that direction where it could be removed by the bilge pump.
Grabbing was a slow process, and often took a whole tide to load. Another disadvantage was that it was normal practice to exhaust the winch steam to atmosphere, which had detrimental effects on elderly Scotch boilers.
Although suction dredging had been employed elsewhere it was not until Glen Helen arrived at Dundee in 1960. This vessel had been built as a coaster but rebuilt as a suction dredger in the 1930s by the South Wales Sand & Gravel Co. Considerable modification was required to meet Board of Trade requirements.

1. A tank was constructed in part of the hold from the hatch openings to the floor. The sides sloped outwards so that stability was maintained when loaded. At the rear of the tank was a cofferdam with holes in it backed by thick cocoa matting, which allowed water to drain into the rear of the hold where it was removed by the ship’s bilge or G.S. pumps.

2. Wash ports and trunkings were fitted from the top of the hold overboard to allow excess water to drain overboard.

3. The steam driven sand pump was mounted in the forward part of the hold on the floor in front of the sand tank. This was connected to a long boom on the starboard side of the vessel, which could be lowered into the water on the starboard side using the ships steam winch rigged to a shortened derrick. The pump outlet came through plating on the forward part of the hold into a screening chute in front of the outlet, which could have the size of mesh changed according to requirements. The gravel or sand that was too large to pass through the screen was diverted overboard down a chute on the port side, whilst the desired cargo carried straight on down the main chute into the sand tank.

Suction dredging was more economic, in that it only took a couple of hours to load the tank, and the sand loaded was already washed and graded. The BOT were never keen on these vessels as an open sand tank in bad weather could spell disaster and as the whole thing was full of water anyway – the tank filled with water long before it was full of sand.
Bad design spelt the end of the Isabel when she came to the Tay. Her sand tank had straight sides and stability was therefore compromised, the result was her capsizing against the North wall of the Camperdown Dock and becoming a total loss. It was suspected that she had been holed before entering the dock and, having been left unattended overnight, flooded and capsized, her bridge and funnel being smashed against the quay wall.
Following the success of the Glen Helen, the Tay Sand Co. intended to convert the Edith (ex Picardy) with the likelihood also of fitting diesel propulsion. She was of identical build to Glen Helen so the original SWS&G plans could have been used. In the event the Rayjohn was purchased to replace the Isabel and converted along similar lines, then The Marchioness arrived and was renamed Middlebank, being converted to replace Glen Helen, some of whose equipment she inherited.
Like Glen Helen, which was one of Crabtree of Yarmouth’s standard 120’ designs, The Marchioness was a motor coaster to standard design built by Pollocks of Faversham to their ‘Landina’ design built in 1934 as the Camroux II, later passing to Hays of Glasgow.
Davie Taylor bought the Antiquity with the intention of converting her to a suction dredger but in the event she was never converted, the installation of a 10RB atop the hold was all that was done. The fitting of old excavators to the Perth sandboats commenced in the l960s when the puffer Serb was fitted with a Priestman crane luffed to the existing mast and derrick. Davie Tailors later ships all had 10RBs fitted, including the ex Arbroath dredger Fairport. This latter vessel had a habit of sinking! The 10RBs used their existing crane jibs and a chandelier grab.
The basic difference between a normal suction dredger and a sand dredger was the fact that a normal suction dredger had a hold with bottom doors so that the cargo could be discharged at sea, and water jets leading to the end of the suction boom so that mud could be loosened, whereas the sand dredger operated the other way round, dredged its cargo at sea, and unloaded it on the shore.
The Sandboat captains became very knowledgeable as to where differing grades of sand and gravel could be dredged. There is no doubt that the lack of sand dredging nowadays on the Tay may indeed be a contributory factor to increased flood risk.

Derek Roger
19th February 2011, 15:27
Not Harris Academy but Perth Academy. My original Glen Helen was to 4mm scale and then I built a bigger one.

The GH caused a great sensation at a hobbies exhibition in the 1980s when I had it in a tank dredging sand all afternoon. We wired it up to an external transformer for the duration.


The advantage of suction dredging is that the sand comes up washed and graded whereas using a grab it has to be put through a washer and grader on shore.

I am most impressed Allan ; would love to have seen that working model . As an aside I was also at Perth Academy in 59 and 60 when I lived in Stanley Used to go to the Perth docks from time to time to fish for trout and visit my Uncle when he was in Perth ( he was a Captain with DP&L )

Jacktar1
19th February 2011, 17:07
Can anyone tell me if the 'Glen Helen' mentioned (not the model), was built for and originally owned by South Wales Sand & Gravel ?
I relieved the Master on quite a few occasions way back.

Cheers....Glan(Thumb)

allantcondie
19th February 2011, 20:50
Glen Helen was built by Crabtree of Yarmouth as the Mary Aiston in 1918 for Wilson Bros (Bobbin) Ltd. of Liverpool as a coaster. She was bought by the SWS&G in 1932 and converted into a sand dredger.

Jacktar1
19th February 2011, 21:52
Thanks for your reply. I remember that one well, I got mixed up, just checked, I relieved on the 'Glen Gower' owned by SWS&G, built in Holland, I was on board in 1973 ! (K)

Weyport
6th March 2011, 19:18
Many thanks for all the input, I've managed to unearth some 40 aggregate dredgers involved in the Tay's sand trade (all too many of which sank, sometimes more than once) and am in contact with John Aitkin who has put me in touch with others in the area.

Derek Roger
7th March 2011, 00:02
Many thanks for all the input, I've managed to unearth some 40 aggregate dredgers involved in the Tay's sand trade (all too many of which sank, sometimes more than once) and am in contact with John Aitkin who has put me in touch with others in the area.

When you were with Zapata did you ever come into contact with Allan Atack or Geoff Guest ?
Derek

Weyport
7th March 2011, 19:23
When you were with Zapata did you ever come into contact with Allan Atack or Geoff Guest ?
Derek

'fraid not Derek, I can't recall either name, which operation were they in? Paul.

Derek Roger
7th March 2011, 21:34
Geoff was engineer supt for Aberdeen . Alan did a few special jobs as Chief eng also out of Aberdeen . Derek

Weyport
8th April 2011, 12:51
No, still can't recall 'em Derek....I was on the Mecia Shore / Mercia Service from 1977 'till, in 1984, I came ashore into the Gt Yarmouth Zapata / Zapata Gulf Marine ofiice....five years with the management style of the good old boys from the west was quite enough before I headed back to a UK company.

allantcondie
5th March 2013, 09:08
Now I've retired I have returned to my researches on the Tay sandboats partly to assist somebody else who is compiling the history of marine sand and gravel operations in the UK. I am looking for further information on the following vessels:-

Lyd (ex Annie Hope) built 1881 by Hawthorns of Leith 117gt.

Foam built Cowes 1897 64gt

Kinfauns (ex Joseph Gresswell) built 1927 123gt new to Consolidated Fisheries, Grimsby.