Samuel L. Clemens 1/25th Scale Suezmax Bulk Carrier

The Samuel L. Clemens is a 1/25th scale Suezmax Bulk Carrier in partial draft condition. She is loaded to 36’ forward and 26’ aft. She has both a bow and stern thruster and a rudder with full protection to allow the vessel’s stern to work near the channel edge and bank without worry. She has permanent ballast augmented with forward water ballast to allow for trim adjustment. She has two 10lb navy stockless anchors on 42 feet of 1/4in. BBB chain giving her 11.6 shots of chain in each locker.

The Samuel Clemens was designed and drafted by Mr. George Burkley of MPI and built by Mr. Brett Thibodaux of MetalTech LLC in Bush Louisiana. She was intentionally designed to be a vessel that is challenging to handle in order to provide a counter-point to the predictable handling of the loaded tanker James B. Eads. Unlike the textbook handling of the good-ship James B. Eads, we wanted the new partial-draft Clemens to behave like a ballast ship that would have a “bad reputation among the pilots." After much discussion, we gave her a bluff entry, canoe stern into her deadwood area, high block coefficient, and a relatively large propeller and rudder. The canoe stern section in her deadwood area leaves her propeller open with easy access to slipstream off the hull, promoting stern walk when backing.

Her design was successful and she behaves accordingly with high directional stability, resistance to initial turn forces and quick checking to her rudder. She slides in her turns and is challenging to keep in shape in our narrow channel. If backed with significant headway she will yaw to starboard alarmingly. In the current, her bluff bow makes her tricky to keep straight with the current. Little to no counter rudder is needed while piloting her. Many pilots have grounded her while adapting to her behavior. With her large bow area, she has more windage forward than aft, making her a novel challenge to dock in the wind. She has less than half the overall displacement of the loaded James. B. Eads with similar power and more rudder. Unlike the Eads, the Clemens will back to her rudder, and is less controllable steering astern using the bow thruster as she pivots quickly about her after-perpendicular. The Clemens is our go-to boat for providing piloting challenges to experienced pilots, especially in high wind conditions.

Name Background: The Samuel L. Clemens is named after the famous American humorist and Mississippi paddle-wheeler Captain who authored his work as “Mark Twain." His works, especially his writings of Piloting on the Mississippi, are inspiration to our modern Pilots.