About the Boat:
The Spirit of Peoria was designed by architect Alan Bates, and built in 1988 at the Walker Boat Yard in Paducah, Kentucky, making it the first paddleboat vessel to ever be built there. The propulsion system was designed by Norm Rittenhouse, with steering by Custom Hydraulics.
The Spirit has no props or thrusters, and is powered by twin Caterpillar 3412 diesel gensets, producing 700 kilowatts combined in 208 volt 3-phase voltage. The power is rectified using railroad-style rectifiers, probably from a GM GP38. The DC voltage goes to two traction engines, also from a GM locomotive, which drive the paddlewheel via two forty-foot-long by one-foot-wide chains. This allows the boat to be comparatively fast and efficient, burning approximately 15 gallons (57L) of diesel fuel an hour, with a top speed of over 15 mph (24 km/h).
Its shallow draft of 4' enables the Spirit to land in just about any river town. Boarding is by 30' long boarding stages
The boat is owned and captained by G. Alex Grieves, and co-captained by Alice Grady and Dylan Masonholder. It routinely travels up and down the Illinois River and Mississippi River.