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Thanks for your great response with the ‘ster crazy suggestions.  Today we go  . . .


I’m not really a ball cap wearer, but I have at least 20 in my closet.

The idea for capster comes from Capt. Tommy Bryceland, whose photos you’ve previously seen on tugster here.

In this part of his collection, received for work well done, are USNS Yuma, USNS Robert E. Peary, USNS Leroy Grumman, and USS Dallas, top row.  And below that, it looks like TS Empire State VI, USS Harry S. Truman, and USS Arizona . . . only the latter did Tommy receive differently.

Here are the highlights of my collection.

Many thanks to Tommy for the idea and photo.  Do you remember when ball caps began to appear in places other than the ball park?  Here‘s a history, as seen from the hat makers.  Before then, here were your options.  I used to work on a boat where the mate would wear . . . yes, a boater!

And then there are decorated hardhats . . .  hatster painted by my artistic daughter and starring Capt. Woodman,


that very dry-witted and

dry-everything else,

corsair of the trim and modeling department.


The background for this ‘ster crazy series is here.   Also, it was just over five years ago that I first strayed into the truckster realm.   today . . . after sitting on these photos too many months, let’s do . . .

Roadster.  Imagine you have a Triumph Vitesse, early 1960s, a unique car, but really want a Bugatti, Type 59; however, you can’t afford the difference on a trade-in.  On the other hand, you possess skills . . . of imagination and metal fabrication and mechanical adaptation.

Here’s what the builder, Robin Denny, wrote late August in response to a steam truck/car made of recycled parts:  ” A little more re-cycling and a little less thrown away would be good for the world. Thirty years ago I built a copy Bugatti [roadster] on which every part was junk, scrap, or secondhand, except the wheels, brakes, pistons and paint. [I then enjoyed driving it for] 62,000 miles.”  Of course, I asked for photos, ad this is what I got.

Strip everything off the frame, and modify it.   The arches will define the body.

Here we’re looking from rear right side toward where the engine will go.  Of course, everything has been modified.

Engine mounts are fabricated;  the new engine location is back 28″ and lowered 4″.

Note the arches to define the body/cockpit with the gearshift in place, the imitation Bugatti radiator grille, and the original Triumph wheels.

Engine has now been linked/wired to controls, and steering has been fitted.

Closeup of the gas pedal, brake, and clutch.

Reservoirs mounted on the firewall. Note the rightside steering wheel and column.  I am puzzled by the tire position, to the right.

Gas tank is mounted as are front lights.  The snazzy wire wheels are mounted.

And here after hours of sheet metal fabrication . . .  is the final product, as if I were a fixture in Jay Leno’s garage, a

scratch-built Bugatti Type 59 imitation roadster, plate number UGH 623F.  I don’t know if the UGH makes this a vanity plate, reflecting the hours and hours of effort.

Kudos, Robin.  I’d happily look at many more photos of the process and the completed roadster.

Apparently, others have also created Bugatti’s out of Triumphs, as in this example.   Here‘s a Type 59 by the same replica creator.

Do read the comments for much more info about the Bugatti aka Bug since the completion.


Last week featured a few photos of HMS Dragon over by the Manhattan passenger terminal.  Those photos prompted these from a tug captain on the Clyde, who attended the launch of the vessel back just over 11 years ago.

Click here and, with the magic of YouTube,  you see video of the launch AND the tug, with music.

Here mere seconds before the first splash, the tug has moved away .  .


Now the tug moves back in to tether the dragon to grab the bridle and

lead it to a dock.

All photos by Capt. Tommy Bryceland, whose photos have previous appeared here.


Oops!  I meant this for tomorrow.
Today Robin Denny offers his second relief post.  Here are all the previous ones.
Clyde paddle-steamer Lucy Ashton operated from 1888 until 1949, at which time she was taken out of service and was about to be broken up.  But scrapping or reefing isn’t the only thing to do with an obsolete passenger vessel.

Step in the British Shipbuilding Research Association and Sir Maurice Denny.  They bought Lucy Ashton, had her paddles, paddle boxes and all upperworks stripped off and replaced by a large gantry on which were mounted four Rolls-Royce Derwent pure jet engines. Thrust gauges were fitted to measure exactly how much power was produced by the jets.   She ran various trials on the River Clyde and the Gairloch, an area familiar to some US veterans, at speeds up to 14 knots (in excess of??)    Indeed this is the world’s first jet powered vessel?

Inside this building is.

Here is the interior of the tank showing to the left stored test models, and in the center, the measuring instruments’ chariot with a test model beneath and the rails which rise by 15mm (5/8ths inch) at the half way point of 100 yards to follow the earth’s (and water) curvature!

​In 1949, Sir Maurice Denny, Chairman of the Dumbarton shipbuilders William Denny & Bros., was seeking to establish the accurate relationship between test figures for drag and resistance obtained in our Ship Model Test Tank and actual figures of ships in service.

Model testing was in still fresh-water with no turbulence from propellers or paddles. Dr. William Froude had produced accurate formulae to calculate the necessary adjustments but practical, full-size testing was very appealing.   In 1883 William Denny, with the help of Dr. Froude, built the first commercial test tank at 300′ x 30′ x 10′ depth.   It proved it’s worth immediately, especially in 1887 when we tendered to build two fast cross-Channel ships for the Belgian Government. The stringent contract stipulated a speed of 20 1/2 knots on trials with rejection of the ships if the speed was below 19 1/2knots. The test tank was vital. The tank tests could only confirm 19 1/2 knots, so the tank staff, contrary to received wisdom of the time, suggested INCREASING the beam, so achieving 21 1/2knots, making her the fastest ship in the world apart from skinny Naval torpedo boats.  The Belgian ships reduced the Dover-Ostend crossing from 4hrs.45mins. to 2hrs.55mins.

Many thanks to the cooperation of the Scottish Maritime Museum for assistance with these photos.

With that, I am grateful to Robin for telling me the story of the jet-powered former paddle steamer.   And I’m thinking it’s high time I get back to the UK.

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January 2023