The first seagoing steamboat that was designed and built for screw type propeller propulsion was the original S.S. Archimedes launched in 1839 and named in honor of the Greek scholar Archimedes. He is the man that is credited with the Archimedes principle which is used by boat designers almost daily to help measure the weight and mass of the boats we are creating. Perhaps a name with a provenance like this is a heavy burden to place on the stem of this little cruiser but then I rationalize, why not carry a decent name into battle? The enemy won’t always remember much about the battle but the name of a valiant foe always is.

Designed originally for a customer from Australia and intended to be used as the base of a steam engine and boiler for running about on Aussie waters, it wasn’t long into the design process that I started pondering what a wonderful platform she might be for electric power. Now mind you, I don’t really have an aversion to the idea of a steam boat in my boating dream life but when I start fitting the engine, the boiler, fuel and all into the boat, I quickly run out of space for myself and any crew that I might want to share the experience with. With our Archimedes 22, we have the space for all that and more, with room to either use a couple of repurposed antique wicker chairs for seating or if I am really slumming it, I will just sit on the side decks or the small stern transom seat at bulkhead #5 as shown in the construction view.


I truly do like the idea of the steam engine but I muse that many of you might not be so interested in firing the boiler, waiting for a head of steam to build, and the almost constant tweaking and oiling chores that a steamer involves. Imagine coming to the realization that you’ve been out in the boat with your sweetheart and nary given her a nod or a mention all day due to fooling with all the steam mechanisms. As many of you might conclude, that won’t be a proper way to spend a day for very long!

So let’s explore the idea of the electric drive. We looked at the options available to us and narrowed the list down to two options – either the Elco inboard electric engine, or the Torqueedo electric outboard. There is much more fooling around necessary for the Elco inboard as it is a conventional shaft type drive (very much like the steam engine) but makes for a neater and cleaner installation even with all the work spent on the installation. The Torqueedo drive is a no-brainer with the engine being mounted on the transom of the Archimedes, steering performed with the outboard and with a proper bank of deep cycle batteries in the belly of the little boat. But then the dilemma of why am I doing all this in the first place rears its ugly head. Yes, it is all about being on the water, but I keep thinking that the whimsy factor of boating is really almost as important to me as the water time. In fact, dreaming and scheming about being on the water is a truly fine thing to do with my short amount of idle time and that takes me full circle back to the steam engine. Even though it is complicated and involved, it easily takes the prize for the largest amount of dream whimsy factor and if I personally need to add another boat to my already bulging fleet, then I choose to live with the complication.

For you my friends, the plans of the boat can be used in any way you can rationalize your own dreaming and we offer them in all flavors with the tyro being able to build his or her steamboat or electric inboard launch, or as an electric or I suppose, even a gas outboard. The choice is yours. Construction is our normal Stitch-and-Glue method with hi-grade marine plywood used throughout along with epoxy resin and fiberglass and Dynel cloth sheathing for abrasion resistance. I am thinking of throwing away all logic and painting her a stunningly bright and shiny black and buff colored decks. Green bottom paint mixed custom for my color palette finishes her out. I am even thinking of hand carving the little scroll work shown on the bows, why not make her a proper launch! – Sam Devlin

The Archimedes 22 is available as study and full construction plans.


Archimedes 22 Specifications

Length 22 ft. – 10 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 4 in.
Draft 22 in.
Power Outboard, Steam, Electric
Displacement 1600 lbs.
Hull Type Displacement

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