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An engine and a steel rudder  1995

Over the years butty boats have been motorised in one of three ways:

(a) by adding a large outboard- which we rejected for aesthetic and practical reasons

(b) by adapting the stern to take a propellor- rejected because we didn't want to chop into an historic hull. Also limited back cabin height made the addition of a prop shaft problematical.  We did not like to add ugly anti-cavitation plates above the propellor.  

(c) by having an hydraulic motor in a steel replica rudder. We felt this was the best choice.  It meant that we would be able to have the engine tucked away in the hold. 

We were one of the first boats to go for this conversion, Although there were several earlier attempts which were largely unsuccessful.

Earlier attemps at adding engines to butty boats.

Hydraulic drives

Having decided to add an hydraulic drive, we towed Hampton up to Warwickshire Flyboat Co. to have this fitted.

It's an ARS Anglian motor driven by a 1.8 BMC diesel engine.  This was one of the first historic butty boats to be motorised in this way and it turned out to be a most manoeuvrable boat.

Waterways World published an article in July 1996.

The propeller is surrounded by a steel ring.  This is for protection. It also helps to direct the flow of water.  Ken Freeman at Warwickshire Flyboat Co. designed and fabricated the rudder; ARS diesels designed the hydraulic drive and Calcutt Boats supplied the reconditioned 1.8 BMC engine.


We were amazed by the speed of the boat and it was so manoeuvrable that it can turn in its own length.  However, the small prop means that stopping the boat is comparatively slow.  


It's like having a giant outboard and the boat steers as well in reverse as it does going forwards.

Read Waterways World article

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