River Belle
A 35' 3" Tunnel-Stern River Cruiser
By William Atkin
Shallow Draft River Cruiser
Ever since publication of the lines of the stern wheel shallow draft cruiser Lady of the Lake in these pages a few months ago letters have come in asking for a somewhat similar boat but propelled by single propeller rather than the efficient, if old fashioned, stern paddle wheel. And so here is River Belle, a useful kind of boat that can navigate in very shallow water safely and at good speed.

The hull of this boat is 35 feet 3 inches in over all length; the water line length is 34 feet; the breadth 8 feet 10 inches; and the draft, loaded, 17 inches of water. Under way the draft will actually be 15 inches because the stern (unlike any other type of tunnel sterned boats) will raise; not settle. The freeboard at the bow is 3 feet 2 1/2, inches; and at the stern 2 feet 6 inches.

River Belle has a high house with sash and was designed for use on protected waters. She is not intended as a seagoing yacht; but will take a lot of rough water in an emergency without danger or discomfort. But please remember, boats with low freeboard and a lot of glass windows are not intended for far and wide cruising. The forward deck is 8 feet 3 inches long; the glass standing house, 21 feet 4 inches in length; and the after deck 5 feet 6 inches long. The decks each side the house, the washboards, have a width of 9 inches. Enough to pass over with the aid of the ample grab rails shown.

The interior is laid out for comfortable living for two. Suitable locker room is available for the necessary things needed for living and wearing including good sized hanging locker, drawers and hanging space. The pilot house is 5 feet 7 inches long and the full width of the deck house. Two high seats are fitted either side in addition to the steering wheel, wheel box and full motor controls. The two forward sashes are intended to hinge at tops and swing outwards. The main cabin has two berths with drawers beneath. All the window sashes here have jump hinges and swing inwards. The toilet room and hanging locker adjoin the main cabin on the port hand, while galley sink and stove occupy the opposite sides. The ice box protrudes into the forward end of the motor space. The galley is 4 feet 4 inches in length. There is a full 6 feet of headroom the entire length of the deck house including the motor space.

The shape of the hull is somewhat more complicated than that of Lady of the Lake, the latter being a scow of refined, form; and for that reason about the simplest kind of hull to build; River Belle has straight sections but is of V bottom model having the peculiar shape of the famous Seabright skiffs; flat, pointed at both ends bottom board, box deadwood and negative deadrise through the after sections. However the form is not too difficult to build, and many amateur boat builders have produced very fine boats from designs similar to that of River Belle. I term the hulls of this model tunnel boats, but really there are twin triangular sectioned tunnels leading each side the box deadwood; and it is difficult to tell where the bottom of the boat leaves off and the tunneled portion begins because the whole bottom is the tunnel, the shape of the bow sections being as much a part of this as the after sections are. This form of underbody is my contribution to the development of fine shallow draft motor boats and no other designer has attempted hulls anything like it.

The first boat of this model I designed for The Gordon Boat Building Company, Brooklyn, N. Y.; the year 1922, 21 years ago. Since then I have designed 44 of this type and all have been successful beyond expectations. The hull is easily propelled and for equal displacement and power is faster by several miles than the usual underwater form. And these boats if built exactly like the plans handle perfectly, ahead, astern, in rough water or smooth. There is no cavitation running across the wind in a strong chop, either; which is surprising. Like all very shallow craft the boats do not lay at anchor without a lot of walking around; but this is to be expected because of the very shallow lateral plane. A great advantage these boats have is the low position of the floor boards and the very slight angle of the propeller shaft. The former provides better headroom without carrying the deck house too high and at the same time provides a wide floor line. The reduction of the shaft angle adds to the efficiency of the propeller and the motor. Another thing worth careful consideration is the fact that boats of this particular model will sit upright if grounded or pulled ashore and do not require shoring to keep them from rolling on their bilges while being moved ashore or left ashore over the winter months.

The motor shown in the plans is a Kermath Sea Queen of 282 cubic inch cylinder displacement developing 80 h.p. at 2400 r.p.m. The speed of River Belle will be very close to 15 miles an hour with a power plant of this capacity.

Plans for River Belle are $100






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