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swimheads

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  • ANDREW AIREY
    Does anyone know how far the swimheaded barges operated and what were the advantages of the configuration since it took around 100 years for them to be
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 8, 2008
      Does anyone know how far the swimheaded barges
      operated and what were the advantages of the
      configuration since it took around 100 years for them
      to be completely displaced as sailing vessels by the
      modern barge and even then the form was retained for
      lighters(The 2 swimheads on the active list are
      apparently converted lighters).The ones I can think of
      offhand are
      Easy build
      Sitting relatively deep in the water when light and
      giving a better grip on the water
      Closer approach to the bank for discharging cargo over
      the bows
      The swim would keep the bows up better in short steep
      seas,rather like a Dutch barge - important if holds
      not properly battened down - but would also slow it
      down
      cheers
      andy airey

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    • Michael Land
      The way I understand it is that they were originated because of a lack of skilled workers - up until then boats had been quite shapely . These box like
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 9, 2008
        The way I understand it is that they were originated because of a lack
        of skilled workers - up until then boats had been quite "shapely".
        These box like vessels were easier to build. On the water however they
        lacked performance. In part due to the barge racing and combined with
        the need to travel out of the rivers we can then see the "snib" bow
        deleoped. This development was not the round bow that we know today and
        usually they still had the "budget" stern. This then gave them better
        handling charecteristics in open water.
        I'm afraid this does not really answer your question! I would assume
        that they were pigs in open water not only because of there shape but
        the sails they carried. The rig and the craft developed hand in hand
        with the need to travel further but still get into those shallow
        waters. The more one delves into the history of these craft the more
        questions seem to be left to answer.
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