POULSBO — With 3.5-inch engines, 80 square feet of tubing and one large paddle wheel, Allan D. Dunlap’s paddle boat touched the Liberty Bay water on June 23 for an annual boating event.
“I must say insanity is part of the problem,” Dunlap said jokingly when explaining his reason for building this 1890’s-styled boat 40 years ago.
Dunlap began building boats when he was 15 years old, and worked as an airplane mechanic in the 60s. During the 70s, Dunlap began working on his paddle boat, which took 20 years to complete. Dunlap simply explained that he just “liked the idea” of building his dream boat. He lets the complexity of his masterpiece do the talking.
Dunlap said he was most proud of the engine, which he built from scratch. The engine is made with 80 square foot water tubes, which help the engine run at a maximum of 28 rotations per minute. The paddle wheel, which is decorated with vibrant red paddles, is approximately 6-feet long. The walls and cabinets inside the ship are made with polished wood, and the dining table can be turned into a bed.
This is the boat’s 14th summer in the water. Dunlap’s boat has paddled in other states, including California and New York.
Dunlap is a member of District 16’s US Power Squadron, a national organization dedicated to promoting boating safety and education. This year, District 16 celebrated their annual rendezvous in Poulsbo. Annette Ferguson, a district 16 officer member of the Everett Sail & Power Squadron, said that Dunlap’s paddle boat was “one of the most amazing boats” at the event.
The celebration lasted from Friday, June 23 until Sunday, June 25.