Bobbie Stalter, from Savvanah Georgia, and part of the Secret Club gang listening to a tape of the Lone Ranger radio program in Omar's River Bird. Photo taken in AD 1995.
At Atlone Castle during 08 Challenge. Sleeping accomodations, gas and turf stoves, dining table, enclosed head and much more. NOT YOUR AVERAGE ROWBOAT!
End of Shannon Navagation - Killaloe AD 2007. International benchmark records had been established! More were to come that year. The cast iron turf stove on this boat weighs more than many of the boats which have made Shannon transits without an engine.
Please note on the photograph above that there is a wooden insert in the platform at the rear of the boat. This is the aperture where the shaft of the 1951 seven h.p. Seagull engine normally enters the water. Also note the place at the top of the transom where there is no paint because for normal use the adjustable motor mount is bolted on at that point.
FOR THE CHALLENGES BOTH THE OUTBOARD MOTOR AND ITS MOUNT ARE LEFT AT OMAR’S BOAT SHOP IN DONOUGHMORE.
This removes any doubt about wither or not the engine was ever used during the trip. We had originally thought that we might carry the engine with seals on it which would require breaking to use the engine. Thus it would be available for use in the case of an extreme emergency and breaking the seals would end the challenge. In the end we realized that if we carried the engine with security seals doubts would remain as to weither or not we were able to “fiddle” the situation, use the engine and make it appear that the seals were intact. Leaving the engine at Donoughmore removes any doubts about its use during the challenges.
Getting over a ton of boat and gear moving against the wind in close quarters is a gut busting task!
The Boat OMAR’S RIVER BIRD
In the picture below, please note the smoke, which is coming from the cast iron turf burning stove. This antique stove alone weighs more than some of the boats people have rowed down the Shannon!
OMAR’S RIVER BIRD, the boat used to establish these world benchmark records, was built by Omar B. Attig (RIP) in 1995.
His boat building shop/company was located over 700 feet above sea level and is thought to have been the highest boat company in Ireland. The “River Bird” was built as the demonstrator of an affordable family camper boat model for Omar’s FROG HOLLOW BOAT COMPANY. Omar chose the company name because it had been the name of one of his father’s companies in America. He decided on the name River Bird, for this model, because there are a lot of Yangtze River cargo sampan characteristics incorporated into the boat’s design and Yangtze River fisherman use a bird with a ring on its neck to catch fish. Omar planned to have a small brass bass relief of one of those birds mounted on each boat.
When launched the River Bird exceeded all performance expectations and was an instant success! The gentleman who took the included photograph of Omar and his dad on the day of its initial launch asked if he and his girls could join in the ride from the launching site to the dock at Killaloe. Before the ride was over he placed an order for the first production model. Less than a week later Omar had taken an order from a man in Dublin, who planned to use it as a bachelor pad on the canals to eliminate rent during the work week. Because in less than a week from the lauching of the demonstrator two of these family fun boats had sold, one could assume that it would have eventually become a popular and widely used type. Sadly Omar stepped into truth as the result of an accident involving a car he was riding in before these two camper boats came up in the list of his orders being built. Thus this boat, which has been used to establish unique world class benchmark records is itself unique, being the only one on planet earth.
Donald Attig had designed and built similar but quite different Camper Yachts in the USA from molded FRP sandwich construction, when he was operating his SEA LORD BOAT COMPANY. The “River Bird” was designed to carry a family for weekend or longer holiday cruises, in addition to day trip outings. As with many of the boats designed by Omar’s father the primary consideration was affordable family oriented fun. It can be rowed, poled and sailed and is designed for a very small economical engine of ten or less horse power.
Launching Omar's River Bird
Omar was born on a 3 mast “tern” schooner in 1976. He could steer bhe vessel by the feel of the wheel when he was a little over two years old. After he stepped into truth as the passenger in a vehicle involved in a road accident, he father donated the vessel to Youth Reach in his memory.
The Schooner OMAR B (previously New Jerusalem)
- Omar’s first building project. His dad rough cut the parts. Omar sanded and fitted them together, bored the holes and tapped in the nails. This was his second birthday, 26/9/78
THE RIVER BIRD (now Omar’s River Bird) was one of his last projects.