In 1848 around 25 tugs were operational on the river Rhein. These were all side wheelers with a draught of around two meters. Because of the shallows in the middle Rhein it was impossible to use ships of a deeper draught. Rhein tugs were therefore lengthened to create more space for longer steam boilers, bigger engines, bunker and crew accommodation.
About 1880 the first propeller driven tugs appeared on the Rhein which developed more speed and needed less crew.
The "Wacht am Rhein VII" was built in 1893 as a Rhein tug by the P. Boele Shipyard at Slikkerveer in Holland. She was a tug powered by a coal fired boiler, a compound engine developing 300 IHP and was designed specially for the middle part of the river Rhein which has lots of bends and very strong currents. Her hull design is long and narrow to suit these conditions.
The steering and control gear is behind the funnel giving very little view forward but with a much better view of the ships which she tows. In 1894 the ship was taken into service under the name "Wacht am Rhein VIII" by J Huttner in Wesel-Buderich. This company was established at an outstanding location on a bend of the Rhein where in addition to towage they ran a hotel-restuarant. To date (1993) this hotel-restaurant was still managed by the Huttner family although the shipping operation was sold off many years ago.
Around the turn of the century the ship came under the control of the Johann Knipscheer Shipping Company who were the first firm who dared to attempt to tow a ship upstream to Basel on the Swiss border. The ship was renamed "Direktor Johann Knipscheer". In 1919 she was renamed "Speculant". Between 1924 and 1957 a number of major alterations were made to her power plant and superstructure. Today: In 1972 she was renamed Pieter Boele, after her original builder and in 1987 handed over to the Prins Hendrik Maritime Museum in Dordrecht where she has been kept in service by volunteer enthusiasts.
Details of the kit
Scale 1/35 Length 965mm Beam 180mm Sailing weight
Glass fibre detailed hull, laser cut decks and S/tr
metal and resin fittings, full size plan, instruction book,and prop & shaft included.2.2kgs
The production of this fine and historic model could not have been achieved without the generous assistance of our friends in Holland. We would like to thank especially the following organisations:-
Maritiem Buitenmuseum, Stichting, Buitenmuseum Leuvehaven, Postbus 21191, 3001 AD ROTTERDAM, Holland.
Museum Voor Rijn- En Zeesleepvaart Maaskade 137d, ROTTERDAM, Holland.
Uitgave van de Stichting Dordt in Stoom p/a Stationsweg 1, 3311 JW DORDRECHT, Holland
Should you wish to obtain more information about the original ship these bodies will be pleased to assist. You might even consider a visit to the original at the preservation society at Dordrecht, as above. At the time of writing (March 1996) the original, now named Pieter Boele, is preserved as a working steamship by the Pieter Boele Preservation Society, and is used for passenger carrying. It would be best to check that this is still the case before planning a special trip.
The Society has a number of souvenirs for sale relating to this vessel. The address of the Dordrecht Tourist office is:
VVV Dordrecht, Stationsweg 1, 3311 JW, DORDRECHT, Holland.