Subject: River Rat nearing completion
Date: Wed, 05 Jun 2002 12:47:39 -0600
From: Spike Hampson

Hello Glen-L,

Three and a half years ago I started construction on a River Rat, and now I am about one month away from the anticipated launch. I built the boat according to directions, but opted to increase its length (as specified in the plans) to over 21'. I also designed and constructed a cabin for the boat that has a clamshell top capable of being raised about 10" to allow for ventilation. I chose to install a Kodiak jet unit for propulsion and decided on a Rotary Power Marine Corporation rotary engine (supercharged; 240 horsepower) to drive it.

This undertaking has been a wonderful obsession and is only the first part of a larger project. Eventually, I intend to use this boat to travel from Wyoming to Buenos Aires by way of rivers and protected waterways (except in the Caribbean, where I plan to island hop on good weather days). My planned route is as follows: down the Powder River into the Yellowstone and then the Missouri; up the Mississippi and Wisconsin to Portage where the boat would be transferred a few miles to the Fox; down the Fox River into Green bay and then along the north shores of Lakes Michigan and Huron before taking the Trent-Severn Waterway across Ontario; down the St. Lawrence and along the Quebec and New Brunswick coasts to just south of Prince Edward Island where the boat would be hauled the 20 miles necessary to get it to Chignecto Bay and the Bay of Fundy; south along the entire eastern coast using the Intracoastal Waterway; through the Caribbean by island hopping (there would be three 90-mile stretches of open water but in all other cases the distances between islands would be less than 45 miles); up the Orinoco to the Casiquiare distributary and from there down the Rio Negro and Amazon to Manaus; up the Madeira to near Santa Cruz in Bolivia where a portage to the Paraguay-Parana watershed; and finally down that system to the Rio Plata where Buenos Aires is located. I apologize for overwhelming you with all these details, but as you can see I am rather preoccupied with this entire scheme.