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Jim Herron 07-24-2007 07:27 AM

Sunken sternwheeler on ebay
There is a sunken sternwheeler for sale on ebay. The boat's name is "Leland Davis" and it has been partially underwater for about a year and a half. It is 100 ft long. They say it is a Bayer Island boat dating from 1982. The location is Winchester, KY. Does anyone know anything about this boat?
Just curious. I'm not a prospective bidder on this.
-Jim Herron

Here's a link to the sales page:

Steve Huffman 07-24-2007 08:33 AM

I received an email from the owner of this boat early last year, when he was looking for ideas on raising it. The boat was home-built, and the hull was originally 3 separate steel "pontoons". Later steel plating was installed between the 'toons to make it one hull. This may have been done at Tucker Marine.

Since there is no way to get an A-frame or crane barge to the boat's location, the prospects for saving it are probably slim. Bill Judd could tell you a lot more about this boat.

Steve Huffman 07-24-2007 08:44 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Attached is more info on this boat...

Jim Herron 07-24-2007 09:05 PM

Thanks Steve,
This is an interesting boat. Too bad she's had such an unlucky fate. There are 8 bids with the current high bid at $ 318.00 for her. But then, that's just the beginning of expenses for the buyer (if they agree to sell at such a price). Over 6 days to go before the auction closes. They have it listed as a houseboat.

David Dewey 07-24-2007 09:56 PM

Just a crazy, far from the action idea: IF the boat is built on pontoons, why not drill a hole (underwater, gonna need a diver for this, and probably an air powered drill w/ a portable compressor) at a low point of the sunken pontoon, tap a high point and pump air into it. IF the leak is small, as described, wouldn't that fill the pontoon with air and provide boyancy?
Would be a big gamble to buy this puppy! Still. . . .
Hmm, needs a boiler and engines though. . ..
David D.

Frank X. Prudent 07-24-2007 11:20 PM

Last time I saw the BAYER ISLAND, which was years ago, she was sitting up on blocks at Tucker Marine, and she still had the three pontoon hull. Every time I think of it I get a hankerin' for a Swiss cheese triple-decker sandwich. ;-)

Shipyard Sam 07-25-2007 12:55 AM

Captain Clifford Dean
The BAYER ISLAND was built in 1976 by [B]Capt. Clifford Dean[/B] as his answer for a sternwheeler that could beat the P. A. DENNY at the Charleston (WV) Sternwheel Regatta. It never happened. The BI was far slower than the PAD and appeared "overbuilt" and overweight for its size and never lived up to its expectations-- a great disappointment to Captain Dean.

Captain Dean was a respected gentleman and boatman of the highest order on the Great Kanawha River, and it was rumored that his ability to afford such indulgences as this experimental sternwheel racer was due to residuals from various patents he possessed for inventions relating to the coal industry. In his youth Clifford Dean operated a hand-rowed ferry on the lower reaches on the Kanawha. He as a magnificent oarsman who changed my life forever when, while watching me row the DENNY's skiff, laughed and told me that I [I]“didn't know how to row a boat,” [/I]though I fancied myself to be rather adapt with a pair of ash blades. Suppressing my anger I challenged Captain Dean to show me a better way to row a skiff; so he stepped into the boat took the oars in hand and taught me what I have since dubbed [U]The Kanawha Crawl, [/U]the smoothest and most efficient method of rowing yet devised.

During the 1978 Sternwheel Regatta, using his style of handling the oars and with The Fish steering, both of Cappy Lawson Hamilton’s 1941 speed records for a rowed sixteen-foot, wooden Weaver Skiff from the Capitol Street Bridge to Port Amherst and back (a distance of five miles each way) fell to our fleet FLYING FISH. Both "new" speed records still stand.

Steve Huffman 07-25-2007 10:55 AM

I'm glad I'm not the only one that thought of that crazy idea! I suggested that idea to the owner last year, but he was looking for water pumps and lift bags. Who knows if it would really work. In theory the air pressure should displace the water in the failed pontoon, forcing the water out the small hole in the bottom (assuming it is just a small hole, and on the bottom, and the pontoon is airtight otherwise).

Bill Judd probably had the best suggestion: 2 or 3 Caterpillar D8's up on the river bank hauling her out with cables. Next step would be salvaging the scrap. Too bad they let it sink. It was a decent looking boat.

David Dewey 07-25-2007 10:45 PM

Since the pontoon filled, I'd bet the "small leak" is on a side (probably a weld that opened up--likely one of the connecting plates added) that's why I suggested drilling a hole in the bottom so the water will go out the right direction! :)
That "small leak" might have to be caulked, or stuffed with some wood to slow it down. Once you start pumping air in, it should show up!
At least that's my theory!
Wonder what shape any of the machinery is in after being under water that long? OTOH, the Cairo's engines look pretty good after all that time under, and a steam loco was recovered from a resevoir here after 80+ years under--some parts still moved!
David D.

Tom Price 07-26-2007 08:41 AM

Another boat Clifford built at the "Ferry Masters House" in Winfield W.Va. was the "Katydid", its main cabin was an old citybus. He put it on the pontoons as well if anyone has a picture of the "Katydid" you can clearly see the side doors for the passengers. My sister bought the "Ferrys Master House" restored it and is now on the National historic register.

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