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Date: May 07, 2006 at 05:18:42
From: Alan Bates, []
Subject: Mississippi Queen

The Mississippi Queen, of Arnhem in the Netherlands, was designed and built by the deHoop Shipyard. I was solely a consultant. My primary help was to correct several flaws in the stern and paddlewheel area. It was an interesting job. That tall boat was made so it could be navigated under a bridge with only 29 feet (9 meters + or -) of air clearance. It served a triangular route on several streams to Zutphen that was paralleled by a steam railroad on one side. Passengers could change venues at any of the three angular points and joint tickets were available. One idea I vetoed was to have hearts, diamond, spades and clubs applied around the paddlewheel circles.
deHoop usually built gigantic oil well rigs for the North Atlantic off Norway. They were designed to sail to the site, flood themselves to stand on one end, and attach themselves to the ocean floor, then drill for petroleum. The Mississippi Queen is now the Kapitan Preuss at Hamburg.
The owner, Ruderiij Heiman, soon received a threat for copyright violation from an attorney representing the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. He laughed at it. DQSB never followed up on that absurd threat.
I received a brochure from Heiman describing the boat. It had a lot of unusual features, most of them illegal in the U. S. One was a remarkable double-deck elevator that ran from the hull to the roof. The idea was that if some industry desired to display their wares, such as a new-model automobile or power plant, the display could be set onto the elevator by shore-based crane. The elevator would then be lowered. At the proper moment a fanfare could sound and the machinery would magically rise from below, like Venus from her shell. The elevator also served as a platform for a serving counter. It could be loaded in the hull at the kitchen and raised to the main deck with the meal. It was named the Alan Bates Grill and served - brace yourself - a Mexican menu when I saw it.
The Dutch way of conducting a trial run was interesting. They take a vessel out, run her up to full speed, then throw the rudders hard down. If nobody drowns, the boat passes.
On one of my trips from Amsterdam to Atlanta my seatmate was a sinister looking fellow who read a newspaper printed in Arabic. I shuddered and resolved to die fighting. He promptly went to sleep and stayed that way all the way to Atlanta. I will never have a better chance to be a hero.

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