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Alan Bates 01-24-2007 05:30 AM

Naval Architecture
The discussion of the Creole Queen brought the difficulties for naval architects of excursion boats to mind. The job involves a lot of math and a lot of critical dealing with the USCG, both of which try men's souls, but the worst problem is owners. With a very few exceptions designing a boat is 90% costs, 8% violent argument and 2% art. The art may be reduced to favor either of the others and usually is.
The typical owner's idea of an excursion boat is a direct connection between the passengers' wallets and the bar, with no filters or diversions. Stability, stairways, air, light, engines, steering, sewage disposal and potable water, safety and fire-fighting equipment, color scheme and restrooms are all secondary to this one vital connection. No naval architect I ever heard of had the clout to force his notions on clients or regulators as Frank Lloyd Wright did.
One boat I designed for Florida was the worst-looking vessel on Earth in my opinion. After seeing one in San Diego, this moved to second place.
There are some pretty horrible-looking excursion boats out there designed by my colleagues and myself. Don't blame us. Blame costs and income considerations for the owner.

Bob Reynolds 01-24-2007 06:35 AM

Alan, I'm sure you are 100% corect. It must be frustrating to someone with good ideas and good taste to have those ideas shot down.

I remember once on this board I praised the talents of Dennis agreed, but told me he cheats at the boat-designing game by working only for himself.

Alan Bates 01-24-2007 12:47 PM

Ah, but Dennis paid his dues working for Dubuque Boat Works. The "mosquito fleet" he designed in the sixties was not in the class of the Julia Belle Swain or the Twilight. I refer to Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and their colleagues. All are good boats. All have made money. None has been in any trouble, but still they do not compare esthetically with his Border Star and his last two boats.

inactive user 02 01-24-2007 03:34 PM


That little BORDER STAR was a great boat for many people. Other than her highly complex drivetrain, she was a sweetheart of a little boat. Does anyone know (other than the JONATHAN PADDELFORD) if any of the other 4 boats he built with the hydraulic pitman drive are still around/running?

I had heard one of them was in Virginia a couple of years back, but I can't find any evidence of it still existing (I believe the name was CITY OF FREDRICKSBURG). And there was one out in the Bahamas in the 1970's name COPY CAT.

Wasn't the TALISMAN hydraulic?

All questions today, I guess!


Bob Reynolds 01-24-2007 06:17 PM


Yes, the TALISMAN was/is hydraulic with pitman drive. It was the first of those boats to be built with horizontal hydraulic pistons driving the paddlewheel through pitmans ~ a way to truly simulate a steamboat. I was unaware of the boats in Virgina and the Bahamas.

We went to New Salem State Park in Illinois (near Lincoln) about 9 years ago and saw the TALISMAN there. She was beached due to low water on the Sangamon River. The boat was owned by Dennis Trone's brother Robert "Moon" Trone, the U.S. District Attorney for that area. Moon died unexpectedly several years back, and I don't know who the ownership/operation of the boat passed to. Maybe Judy knows something???

Steve Huffman 01-24-2007 07:03 PM

There was a lengthy thread in 2004 on the old message board regarding the TALISMAN. The info is somewhat dated now, but might still shead some light on the subject. Here's the top of that old thread:

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