Page 2 – Introduction

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Many books about Stirling engines are written from one of two viewpoints.

Some authors are from the scientific, engineering or mathematical world.

Others have equally specialist backgrounds, but in the engineering world.
They are artisans, they have been involved in making machinery and making things work.

I suspect that the musical world is divided into two groups.
Those that read, write and play using written music.
Others, e.g. Manitas de Plata, just pick up the instrument and play.

Perhaps the Stirling world has a similar divide.

My attempt in writing this book is
to take a middle road.
Not start from physics theory – or from workshop practice.
Whilst I have some of experience of both, I am also a long term river Thames boat user.

So, my viewpoint is centered around matching the Stirling engine to boating needs.

I want a boat, engine powered, that is easy to maintain and is a pleasure to use.

Sadly, many boats are lacking in these respects.
That is why I was attracted to the Stirling engine.

It has a very low maintenance need and has huge potential for small boats - in calm waters.

In seeking to own and use a Stirling powered boat,
I have found matters to be rather like Mrs Beeton’s Cook Book.

Want to make an omelette? First build a hen house!

There are no commercial makers of low horsepower Stirling engines.
(Unless you know better – please tell me.)

So – it becomes necessary to build an engine.

Fantastically, there is a small group of Stirling engine makers here in the UK.

And I have been very fortunate to spend time alongside them helping them to fit engines into small boats.

My hope is that others will see the potential of this simple, reliable engine
and engage in creating more and more Stirling powered boats.

Meanwhile, I will continue to “wave the flag” for Stirling powered boating and hope that the following pages will interest and inspire you.

Please read on.