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W.R. Dancey 01-26-2016 02:07 PM

Modern Age Steamboat Architecture
Hello all,

Here's some food-for-thought during these bleak winter months. In the modern day, what architectural and engineering features make a successful, historically accurate, and modestly sized steamboat?

Take for instance vessels such as the SPIRIT OF PEORIA, JULIA BELLE SWAIN, and TWILIGHT. All three have operated successfully (excluding a few unfortunate years for the SWAIN) doing short 1 to 5 day cruises. Each vessel's cruises are reliant of onshore facilities such as hotels for passenger lodging, but IMHO are the most aesthetically pleasing vessels on the rivers today.

If I am excluding any similar vessels, please bring them up in the discussion.

If you were to design a similar vessel, how would you do it? What onboard features do these vessels share? What are their differences? What features of each would you incorporate into a new vessel, and which would you exclude? Consider things such as superstructure length, hull characteristics like length and width, passenger capacity, saloon features, propulsion, etc.

In other words, what features from these three vessels and other similar steamers make up the 'ideal' modern day steamboat?

W.R. Dancey

Judy Patsch 01-26-2016 02:55 PM

1 Attachment(s)
My prejudice is showing, but unless you just want small diesel modern boats, I think the steamer NATCHEZ should be included. You won't find prettier lines anywhere...just look at this sheer and camber...sorry this isn't the best pix, but every one I tried to post has already been used on another thread and I can't reuse it!

David Dewey 01-26-2016 03:59 PM

I would say that Judy has it right, graceful sheer and camber are necessary, not flat construction like some of the recent "barge boats" that an unnamed cruise line is building. Tasteful gingerbread, a curving grand stairway up to the saloon is very important. I like lots of brass-work myself.
And I am very old-school; a Pittman-powered real stern-wheel, preferably steam-- although I realize that adds expense and other complications, but it also allows one other feature that I think is important; a well-voiced Calliope (and a good player)!
As to size, etc. that depends on the area and usage. If you have no cabins on-board, than, yes, you are tied to shore lodging (hmm, that would negate the modern idea of cruising at night, so the passengers would see more of the river!!). Also, good food is important, critical actually. And I would prefer "down home" entertainment as opposed to a "really big shew" as Ed would say. And a good Riverlorian, like Toots or Travis or Mary for any long trips is a real requirement!
I realize that most of this flies against modern "blue-water" thinking, but dang it! This ain't blue water!!

W.R. Dancey 03-18-2016 05:13 PM

I have been reading conflicting information regarding the hull length of the [I]Julia Belle Swain[/I]. Some sources say she is 105' long (including Ways Packet Directory), others list her as 150' long. Anyone know what her true hull length is, excluding her sternwheel?

W.R. Dancey

Bill Judd 03-18-2016 07:00 PM

actually her admeasured length of hull is 108.0'

ed frazier 03-20-2016 09:24 PM

I'm with David and Judy. The Natchez is the best size and prettiest of these boats. The others and not ugly by any means, but in these catagories the Natchez is the best.

Kevin Brem 03-24-2016 10:56 PM

The SPIRIT OF PEORIA is a real pretty boat and has great lines. The only change to it I would make would be to add a little length.

W.R. Dancey 03-27-2016 04:17 PM

For contrast to her predecessor, what is the hull length of the Spirit of Peoria?

Kevin Brem 04-07-2016 10:37 PM

I'm unsure of the hull length but overall length (I was told by Mr. Jumer) length 135. Width 30. Her predecessor JULIA BELLE SWAIN overall is 156x27

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