This boat designated a "Patriot Boat" was built to honor 96 year old navy Master Chief Boatswain Mate Harold B. Estes, Honolulu, Hawaii and all our service people. Initial boat was a 1978 24' Sylvan pontoon boat (see below). It was stripped entirely and everything was scrapped except for the pontoons, railing and some hardware. From there everything was fabricated and custom made. Boat is powered by an air cooled engine that drives a two stage hydraulic pump. An open centered rotary control valve provides forward and reverse flow to a high torque hydraulic motor that drives a 3:1 gear ratio using a #80 chain to the wheel. The rudder system entails 2 rudders. One in front of the wheel and the other aft. They are full hydraulic using a Bay Star helm pump. They are synchronized to provide excellent steering. Unique to this boat is that the wheel is mounted on a frame that is hinged to the main superstructure frame that is attached to the pontoons and crossmembers. The hinged or (tilt frame) as we call it has a hydraulic cylinder on each side that provides 8 inches of lift. This allows adjustment of the paddles for various loads for optimum paddle depth. Operation of these cylinders is electric over hydraulic and are controlled by a toggle switch on the console. FOOD GRADE HYDRAULIC OIL IS USED IN ALL 3 HYDRAULIC SYSTEMS.

Special thanks:

to James Hunter, Camby, Indiana for all his hard work and to his family for their patience during the year it took to complete the boat. Also, appreciation to Parker Machinery, Indianapolis, Indiana for their support and contribution and the following: Robbins Graphics, Carmel, Indiana for decals and graphic design, Bill Barnhill of Indy Covers, Mooresville, Indiana for design, fabrication of interior and road cover; Alteration Solutions, Indianapolis for U.S. and H.B Estes flags; Richard Terwilliger, owner, publisher of Fore'n Aft magazine, Honolulu, Hawaii who was the intermediary in getting us permission to name our boat the H.B. Estes.
And of course, thanks to Harold B. Estes for his service to our country and allowing us to use his name. We hope it measured up to his expectations. Also, congratulations are in order on his promotion to Admiral in the Texas navy. Finally thanks to my wife, first mate, Marilyn for her support and enthusiasm which made this all possible (while many chores have been neglected while the boat was being built).....owner, H. Wilson   

The Beginning: Pictures of 1978 Sylvan pontoon purchased for its 24' pontoons, crossmembers and trailer