tug-header_starboard headphoto tug-header_port


Rescue Tugboat

tug-on_water_2 tug-starbard_stand

The Boat

This tugboat was built by Ralph Kanko from a 1979 all-wood 24 inch Dumas Shelly Foss kit.   Construction started in December, 2008, and slowly progressed over the next 11 months to the primed state.  Very little work was done from 2010 until 2015.  Then it was time to complete the boat and use it for its intended purpose: to retrieve sailboats from the pond.  The tugboat was launched for the first time at Delco Park on August 1, 2015.  The stock detail castings, stack, and radio mast were not installed, because they could snag sailboat sheets and booms.  This was built as a working boat, not as a scale model...at least at this time.  The bow thruster is necessary to maneuver the tugboat to the correct position for towing, and enables the tugboat to do a 360 in its own length.


Item Description   Item Description
Dumas Little Shelly Foss Tugboat 24 in. kit purchased 1979 and still available   Bow Thruster Harbor Models, 9/16 I.D.
Hull & Deck Birch & Mahogany Plywood   Cooling fan, 12v 1 1/4 inch, computer surplus
Dumas motor, 6V DUMG2030 5,000 rpm, length 3.125 inch, weight 8.75 oz., Max current 4 A   Tugboat Horn RAM 82 Diesel Sound Module
ESC (two, main drive & bow thruster) Intellispeed, Auto-Sport with Reverse   Line release Designed & built by me
Props, twin counter rotating Harbor Models, brass. O.D. filed down to fit in Kort nozzles (Stock pewter not used)   Battery 6V, 5000ma NiMH
Kort Nozzles Harbor Models, 2 in. I.D.   Paint Krylon primer, Valspar white and orange--to be replaced
Bilge pump Hobbico electric, 380 ma pumping water   Ballast 17 oz.

Detail Photos

Kit box (coming soon)
Bottom sheeting
Last hull panel
Special clamps for bottom sheeting
Rudder Post Installation Jig
Inside Hull
Ready for paint
Twin screws and Kort nozzles
Weed & rock shield
Equipment, aft
Equipment, forward
Line release, pump switch, receiver, air exit
Cooling fan, two speed/off switch
Baffled air inlet in wheel house
RC Car tire bumper
Line Release
Wheel weights from Harbor Freight, have good
sticky backs and curvature that fits the hull.
Easy way to add ballast in the right places.
There are 34 of these in the tug.
Maiden Voyage Aug 1, 2015

Bilge Pump

Bilge pump was made from a Hobbico electric fuel pump.  The case and excess structure were removed.  Have a circuit kit for automatic water sensing and switching, but has not been built.  Bilge pump has not be tested on the pond because after at least a dozen voyages, no water was found in the bilge.

Bilge Pump stock
Bilge Pump stripped (2.3 oz)
Bilge Pump installed

Tugboat Duties

Arms to catch the sailboat shroud
Navigate around damasted boat with line
attached to fishing reel on shore.
Pull the sailboat in.

Paint Problem

I used Valspar orange and white spray paint over primer that was completely dry. I sprayed it outside--the sun was bright, the humidity was way below 50%.  The white paint worked fine. The orange paint did not cure/dry.  After 48 hours it was sort of dry to the touch, but spongy.  I put it outside in the sun.  Small specks of dirt were absorbed into the paint layer, so I took it inside. After three weeks, it was still not hard enough to prevent leaving a mark from a gentle fingernail poke. I called Valspar customer service. They said I should follow the humidity instructions on the can--there were no humidity instructions on the can.  They offered to refund my purchase cost.  They said it needed oxygen--open your garage door. What, for another three weeks? I put it in the furnace room and put a fan on it for another four weeks. The paint was still soft.  I gave up and used it as is. (See Photos)  The foam stand made awful marks in the paint, and it was easily damaged by any little impact.  It will be repainted it over the winter with a DIFFERENT BRAND paint. Thank you, Valspar for the hours and hours of work I will spend removing the old paint. I guess it will not be such a difficult job to remove soft paint, but it has been five months now, so the paint is probably extra hard.

After eight weeks, the paint was still soft.
Damage from foam stand.

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