Buehlers River Walker

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by easywake, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. easywake
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    easywake Junior Member

    In looking for a boat design that I might actually be able to build, I have become quite interested in the River Walker. It's construction seems simple enough to the point where I feel that I could actually complete one. It has the character of a river boat with the accomodations more like a houseboat.
    I am looking to draw on the knowledge base of you fine folks for some suggestions.

    1. Do you think the boat could be easily improved to make it a bit more suitable for some carefully chosen coasting? By that I am thinking of the more challenging passages of the great loop, using the shallower draft to keep closer to shore.
    2. Would you stay with outboard power or go to inboard?

    I really like this boat and I am very interested in any input from this group. I will be looking at a long term build toward completing for retirement in about 7 years. I would be looking to stretch this out to about 32ft or so to add the desired acomodations.
    Thanks, Russ
     
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    PAR has some great designs for such boats. I'm sure he'll give you some help.
     
  3. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    If you post a link to the actual boat-instead of having people search the web for pictures which few can be bothered to do-you will get more advice.
     
  4. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    It look like a simple house barge. Ok, if you were not interested in moving it often. I see it a moored in the same place for most of the time, and I am not to sure if the space given to the pilot house makes sense. It might be nice to make a small garyey as a pusher to move it.
    I do think that a better shaped bottom would make it move better.

    F
     
  5. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Sometimes it is better to help a new person out rather than your first comment being a sniper shot...

    Here are a couple of pictures of the proposed...boat?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    I like this Bolger Champlain , I dont think it would be much more work to build.
    It would move much better .
    [​IMG]
     
  7. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Attached Files:

  8. tsmitherman
    Joined: Oct 2012
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    tsmitherman New Member

    For the pro designers: What kind of efficiency could you expect with the River Walker, if it was extended to 32', cruising at displacement speeds, with a 50 or 60 hp high thrust 4 stroke outboard?
     
  9. easywake
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    easywake Junior Member

    A little more to go on

    First off, I would like to extend congratulations and apologies to Chris Carr the owner and builder of the River Walker in the above pics.
    Congrats on a great build Chris. And please accept my apology for butchering your excellent pics for my illustrations.

    As you can see, I have no real graphic talents, but I thought that this might help illustrate what I am trying to achieve with this boat design.
    After reading some other threads it became apparent that in order to get useful feedback a few more details would be in order.
    Please forgive if this post seems a bit long and chaotic in nature. I will try to list general details and features that I would like to incorporate into my plan.

    1. I like the overall look of the boat. The style suits me, and it appears that the construction is very simple. This is important to me as it means that the boat may actually get built! I have looked at many plans and this one seems to fit the bill for the live aboard lifestyle that I want. I do not want to go "boat camping". I want more houseboat style accommodations and I am willing to go the anchor more motor less style of cruising to control fuel spending. By the time this boat would be completed I should be on the no agenda list. We will be looking at living on the great loop for at least a few years if our health allows. This boat would spend most of it’s time on mostly sheltered water. At this time I would say that I am pretty well committed to this style of boat.
    2. Current plans are calling for stretching the boat out to somewhere between 32 to 38 feet. + or - pending accommodation plans.
    3. Possibly increase the beam a bit to get a bit more side deck. I am thinking that this would be helpful while locking.
    4. Increase forward cabin size a bit to accommodate a human size shower and toilet area.
    5. I love the pilot house as designed. My only thought here is to make the steps from the salon and into the head removable as well as hinging the starboard side of the floor to lift to port side to accommodate head access if one of us were to be having a problem navigating the steps. The area below could be used for bulk storage in the mean time.
    6. I would cover the pilot house with solar panels for energy input.
    7. Planning a large galley behind the pilot house. I love to cook and want the all the goodies to do so.
    8. I am thinking of combining the salon and sleeping cabin with a pocket door arrangement and a Murphy type sofa bed combo. I have a lot of details to work out with that though.
    9. I would extend the rear deck just a bit in order to allow the access ladder to upper deck to be inclined to a more stair like arrangement with handrails for safety.
    10. Andersen makes awning windows with divided lites that are built to withstand hurricane force winds. I will probably use these as they seem to be a practical compromise between style and safety. Staying out of situations that would put a lot of green water against the windows would always be a priority.
    11. Thinking of doing away with the twin “keels” and maybe going with a ballasted box keel, possibly incorporating a cutwater of sorts at the bow. I have no idea if this would be helpful to the design. Suggestions?
    12. I believe a standard type of bow thruster would be pretty much out of the question here. Can anyone suggest a possible alternative? I seem to recall one of the Bolger designs that actually used an outboard in a forward well for directional help.
    13. I am leaning toward a twin outboard setup for power. Is it common in such arrangements to leave the outboards in a fixed position and control with rudder(s)?

    I guess that should be enough rambling for now. I am excited to finally start the process of thinking this project into a practical live aboard vessel. I look forward to your wisdom and suggestions and hope that this can be the start of a creative thread.
    Russ
     

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  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Instead of thinking about how you'd change a design, you should focus on what you need from a design, then find one suitable. Aesthetic considerations can be altered as desired, so this is a non-issue. Altering plans from skegs to keel boxes (etc.) should be done professionally, as you're screwing with hull volumes and other variables, you may not have full grasp off, in regard to the benefits/drawbacks they might impose. The same would be true of the envisioned stretch. A 10% to 15% is reasonable, which makes the River Walker a 28' boat. Stretching much further than this will cause huge shifts in displacement, volume and other hydrodynamic considerations. The River Walker isn't especially efficient. Lastly, with twins, you don't really need a bow thruster, though houseboats have a lot of windage, which can challenge a novice skipper. Steering is best vectored, especially on a high windage craft and twins can make maneuverability much easier, of course at nearly double the propulsion related costs. If you're looking for a floating Winnebago, than this is the boat for you, but expect the efficiency of a road going Winnebago. To me, this is about as hideous a craft as you can get; a box, sitting on a box, yep, real talent in this design.
     
  11. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    PAR is right on. Look for a design that fits your needs rather than changing an existing design. I like the River Walker and have even considered building one myself. It would be nice to have something smallto build but big enough to overnight on. What you want is something a lot bigger and as the size goes up so does the complexity of build. Start small, learn from your mistakes, then move up to something larger later after you have learned more.

    As PAR stated so well, changing a design is a job for a professional. It is not as simple as just making it longer and wider.
     
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    What also goes up is the hull volume (exponentially) and this is directly related to build costs. You have to pay for the materials that go into a hull, in spite of George's insistence you can find old 14" x 14" timbers for a buck a foot if you look around, most can't and will need to pay near retail for the materials.

    I have designs like these, though mine don't look like a Winnebago on shoe boxes, they're actually efficient underway, maneuverable and a lot cheaper to make too, if only because they weigh a fraction of a Buehler design of similar dimensions, plus you'll be able to tell the bow from the stern easily.
     
  13. seadreamer6
    Joined: Oct 2012
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    seadreamer6 Junior Member

    Take a look at Par's FLOOM plans. I doubt it would be any harder to build than the river walker.

    You mentioned doing the great loop. If you tried to do it in the river walker it would be a nightmare and probably cost u a fortune in fuel to push the barge where it would need to go. Even though the great loop is mostly in protected waters you still have to deal with currents and tides, something barge type vessels are not designed to deal with.
     
  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A Floom is currently under construction, with the ultimate goal of the great loop. Some minor modifications are incorporated into the design for this adventure, but because the hull is "boat shaped", she'll encounter little difficulty in route.
     

  15. easywake
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    easywake Junior Member

    Thanks for the input!

    Just so you good folks don't get the wrong idea, I understand that designing a boat from scratch is well beyond my skill level and would not attempt to alter a design without consulting a professional first. Let me also say that my inquiry has accomplished what I was after. You folks have shown me that though I really like the River Walker, it is just not going to be practical for a cruising boat.

    Thanks especially to PAR. I will probably be in contact in the future to inquire if your Floom design would be able to accommodate some of my desires for cabin arrangements.

    Currently working on starting a 20ft shanty boat, hopefully to cruise part of the New York State Canal System next season. A mini tug for local lake fishing is on board after that.

    Thanks again everyone. I may post a link to the shanty project as soon as some appreciable progress is made.

    Russ
     
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