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Old 06-01-2019, 08:27   #1
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Boats for river cruising

It doesn't seem to me that there are any boats that are actually intended for river cruising. There's a bunch of stuff that sort of works.


  • Trawler yachts (Grand Banks, Krogen, Nordhavn, Selene), which have excessive draft, excessive air draft, and tradeoffs in favor of seaworthiness that make them costly and poorly suited for rivers
  • Large cabin cruisers, which are designed for operation at planing speeds, and perform poorly at the 4-10 knot speeds typical for river cruising. Also these are really mostly weekenders and don't have an interior fitout suitable for long term living. Most have gasoline engines
  • Houseboats, generally too large to be practical, usually designed to stay in one place with seasonal moves if at all. Visibility and maneuverability both very poor. Gasoline engines in nearly all cases
  • Motor sailors and sailboats, really not suitable due to bridge clearance, but recommended by some as being the most practical.
Suggestions?
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:35   #2
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Re: Boats for river cruising

Thames sailing barge:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_sailing_barge

...might struggle to get one but would certainly do the job and get some admiring glances.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:35   #3
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Re: Boats for river cruising

Maybe revisit that houseboat idea. The huge "lake" ones maybe aren't great, but the more normal size Holiday Mansion, Gibson, etc. models would seem to be well suited. Gibson makes at least a couple models with diesels.

https://www.boattrader.com/browse/houseboats/

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Old 06-01-2019, 09:56   #4
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Re: Boats for river cruising

I have seen some pretty nice houseboats. You don't need 360 degree visibility with a few 4K cameras. And yes, there are some Diesel houseboats. For inland navigation, not having a mast is a huge advantage. Additionally, who cares what the snobs think about your less than elegant looking houseboat, you will have more damn room on a LOA basis than they could ever imagine having.
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Old 06-01-2019, 12:34   #5
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Boats for river cruising

Iíam on the upper Mississippi and there are all types of boats with houseboats in the majority in the category of boats you can stay on. Aluminum jon boats, pontoon and runabouts are by far the most popular for day use. Sailboats are few and far between on most pools and none at all above L&D #24 where I keep my cruiser. The owners I know with houseboats have no problem seeing whatís around their boats because they normally operate from the flybridge. Even from the lower helm itís not really a problem with all the glass. Deciding what you want can only be determined by what is important to you on a boat and how you plan to use it.
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Old 06-01-2019, 13:18   #6
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Re: Boats for river cruising

Thanks, I'll take another look at Gibson and similar.



Quote:
Originally Posted by River Cruiser View Post
Sailboats are few and far between on most pools and none at all above L&D #24 where I keep my cruiser.

There are maybe 500 sailboats in pool #4, and more than that in pool #3 if you count the St. Croix River, which joins the Mississippi just downstream of lock #2.


I sailed through downtown St. Paul once


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Old 06-01-2019, 14:10   #7
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Re: Boats for river cruising

There is a few in pool 19 and 26, instead of saying above L&D 24 I should of said pool 24. There are a bunch near lake Pepin , I saw those coming back from Treasure Island casino and marina, cheapest diesel in the area.
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Old 06-01-2019, 15:09   #8
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Re: Boats for river cruising

We wanted to do lots of (big) river work as well, efficiently and with shallow draft, but also be able to cross oceans and be coastal.
Our needs include the French canals which mandates a certain width (5.05m), depth (1.5m or so) and air height (many bridges!).
We ended up with an amazing power catamaran, aluminium 50'.
It was important to us to have a great open viewpoint from the cabin - after all that's a big part of why we want to cruise which is to see things - and open plan.

I'd suggest you look at the power catamaran market, choosing the length/width for where you want to cruise.
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Old 06-01-2019, 16:03   #9
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Re: Boats for river cruising

I did the ICW on my sailing cat, but with the masts down. Put it back up, later. It was an absolutely ideal ICW boat, low enough to get under any bridge, without having to wait for it to be lifted.
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:16   #10
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Re: Boats for river cruising

Chris Craft made their name selling boats for rivers and lakes. For example, when I lived in Madison Wisconsin, I saw many of these hither, thither and yon. Semi displacement hulled power boats will work just fine on rivers, you obviously didn't see Apocalypse Now (crap, I'm dating myself):



And of course, Willy Wonka:



Act of Valor:



The Notebook:



And finally, Suck my Wake:

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Old 06-01-2019, 17:27   #11
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Re: Boats for river cruising

And if going out on your river boat, you should chose your crew well:

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Old 07-01-2019, 09:38   #12
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Re: Boats for river cruising

Quite a few PDQ 34 powercats have done the Great Loop. Shallow draft, only 17' wide, no overhead clearance issue, generous flying bridge, etc.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:54   #13
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Re: Boats for river cruising

A few months ago I got the idea that it would be really cool to import a Dutch canal boat, either an older one already upgraded (many approach 100 years old) or a new one (Bluewater Boats Ltd). I looked around a good bit, and actually found one here on SF Bay, but it was small (only 37' as I recall) and narrow (less than 6' of room in the crossways bunk). I did just find one on Yachtworld: https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/192...barge-3251044/

I like the idea of having a boat that would be a WAY comfortable Airbnb if I needed to rent it out, but also something I could putt putt around in on the Oakland/Alameda estuary (it would also be fine in closer-in areas of the Bay). As a 50+year sailor on the Bay, however, always in sailboats, I'm not quite ready to make that jump. However, I think one of these would be a perfect river boat. Bluewater Boats in the UK will build them custom, also.
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Old 07-01-2019, 16:31   #14
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Re: Boats for river cruising

Since the first time I saw one, I have thought that the Nordhavn 35 Coastal Pilot would make a good cruising boat for big rivers as well as coastal areas. Also a nice looking boat IMO.
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Old 07-01-2019, 17:19   #15
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Re: Boats for river cruising

If it's only two people aboard, my friends have a Rosborough 25 that seems pretty comfortable. They've only done overnighters at the marina thus far, but I'm hoping to convince them to take it up the Delta this summer (with me tagging along ) for a warm water adventure. With the antenna down, they need about 10 feet of clearance; it has a gas outboard though. Around here, the Nordic Tug is a popular vessel. Cute but super expensive, is my understanding.
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