Since the war years there has been greatly increased
interest in a small boat of a type which could be used on large and small
streams, shallow bays, and other bodies of shallow water on which it is
impractical to use conventional types of propeller driven motor boats. Also the
simple nature of the hull of a boat like our latest design, which carries the appropriate name of Gwen o' the River, is especially adapted to building by the amateur boat builder and the more skilled men of the carpentering trade. It may be worth remarking that it is better to have a boat which lacks the last word in refinement than not to have a boat at all. And I might add that for all its straight lines the current design shows a businesslike little craft of more than usual character and interest.
The stern wheel packet is a scow type of very simple form. The overall length is 28 feet; the breadth is 8 feet 6 inches, and the draft an even 9 inches. The freeboard at the bow is 2 feet 5 inches and at the stern, 1 foot 10 inches.
There is full standing headroom for the entire length of the deck house, including the motor room. The motor shown in the plans is a Universal Utility Four of about 21 horse power. The stages of the V belt reduction gearing is indicated and if the specifications for these are followed to the letter the speed of Gwen o' the River will be something more than 7 1/2 statute miles an hour.
There is a great deal to be said about side and stern wheel paddle boats. In waters infected with snags, shallow mud spots, sand bars, and floating jetsam, a hull of this kind simply slides over these obstacles and the paddle buckets tread them down. Under water there is nothing subject to damage but the circulating water inlet connection, and for the plumbing fixtures, if the latter refinements are installed. To be sure some of the paddle buckets are beneath the water; but for only part of the time and the wheel can be turned to bring anyone of these to a convenient place above the water if it becomes necessary to repair or replace one or more of these; or for that matter the wheel spokes, as well. There is no propeller to bend, shaft to spring, or stuffing box to pack, nor, by the same token, none of these pieces of equipment to buy.