I want my boat to be specifically designed to work in a particular environment. The environment I have in mind are the small streams and brooks of the North Wessex downs. The area is designated as a Area of Outstanding Nature Beauty that is bounded by the Thames in the east but contains a myriad of small brooks. Before I get down to designing the boat I spent a little time getting to know the environment a bit better.
The photos paint a thousand words.
This brook is about 2-3 m wide in places. Today the water depth along this stretch was about 30 cm in the middle of the steam. However, at the edges gravel-bottomed shallows occur sporadically long the length (September has been very dry). The bottom is often covered in a silt that is easily disturbed turning the clear waters murky in an instant. The banks are often inaccessible and long hanging branches dip into the water. Where the overhead branches clear and sunlight hits the surface plants flourish.
The design is starting to take shape. The boat will need to have a broad flat bottom to be able to cope with the shallow water. The above the water there should be nothing that can snag on the branches. The propulsion system needs to be carefully thought through because the slightest wave will send a cloud of muddy silt billowing into the flow and that is not good for measuring water quality.