For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Aluminum Princess, here is her story:
In 2003, the surge from Tropical Storm Isabel damaged the boat we had at the time. While it was off being repaired, Scott was without a boat, and terribly upset about it. Our neighbor across the street sold him an open john boat for 100.00. Of course, Scott had to “upgrade” it, and after several phases, the Aluminum Princess was born:
A dashboard was installed, with steering wheel, radio with Ipod plug-in and of course…cup holders! There are also two comfy seats inside for us. Scott uses the handle of the outboard to dock the boat, but all other steering is done from inside the pilot house. The speed is controlled with a cable that he installed, which runs from inside the pilot house back to the motor.
Scott has used this boat extensively. It took regular trips from our cove to Annapolis and Baltimore, and has spent many, many many hours on the bay in general. The Aluminum Princess has been to St. Michaels, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and back and has also made several trips out through the inlet at Ocean City, Md. and up into Delaware waters in the ocean.
For the last ten years, the Aluminum Princess has been used in all seasons. In the winter months, she is equipped with a portable propane heater and a sheet of vinyl that folds down in the back to seal the pilot house in, keeping it toasty warm inside. Scott regularly took her through the ice in our cove (she can break through ice up to four inches thick!) and out into the bay, where he shared the waters with only barges, Coast Guard boats, and an occasional sailboat. She was handy to have in early spring, when our big boat was still winterized. We would often take her into Baltimore for lunch on nice days. Even in months when our bigger boat was ready for travel, it was nice for Scott to be able to just jump in the Aluminum Princess and spend time exploring the waters near our cove.
Since our cruise budget did not allow for us to purchase something that Scott could use in the same way, he went about figuring out how to make the Aluminum Princess more cruiser friendly. Her sharp edges were not conducive to tying up next to rubber dingys, or the fiberglass sides of a boat that we may be visiting. After much thinking and research, Scott purchased closed cell polyethylene foam to construct a collar around the sides and roof of the princess. He installed a solar panel on her roof to power the boat, a depth finder and some navigation lights for night travel.
She hasn’t had any final water testing, as the last of the collar installation was done as we traveled south. But finally, here in Biscayne Bay, she got a maiden voyage with her new look!
All went well, and the collar has even improved her ride.
We will still keep our rubber dingy, which is now my ride! It’ll be good for just going to shore for quick trips and such. The Aluminum Princess will be invaluable to Scott for diving, fishing and long range exploring. She and Scott have covered many miles and hours on the water, and we can’t imagine this adventure without her!
Check out a video of her in action!
Here are more photos of the Aluminum Princess, and her transformation!
“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”