family boat design insight needed
I am kicking around ideas about building a boat and need some insight and sound advice about choosing a design. There are so many designs to choose from and several with seemingly subtle yet considerable differences I really need some help.
Here is some background on me. I grew up on a couple lakes (Arrowhead and Possum Kingdom) in North Central Texas, water skiing, fishing, duck hunting, sailing and going on extended canoe trips down the Brazos River often. ‘Sold all the family boats back in TX when I moved up here to central CT in 2001 (Doh!), except for my 18’ 1970 fiberglass Old Towne pack canoe that is now keel cracked and it is too heavy to car top regularly anyways (don’t know what I am going to do with it…fix it? ‘probably should, she’s dear to me). I have an old 1964 Johnson 3 hp that runs and I still have the manual. I have a wife and 2 kids, boy 14, girl 9, that all LOVE to fish and camp.
I want a boat/boats and I like to build things and I don’t have a lot of money to throw at it. I figure I can build a boat to satisfy my constant urge to build things and all the while break the cost of a boat up into 2 or 3 chunks spread out over some time vs. just buying a used boat(s) and fixing it up like I'd want.
‘Wife thinks she wants a pontoon boat to take guests out on and camp on and fish off of. I think I want a 16-24’ skiff/dory/20-40hp boat for the biggest bang for the buck and versatility…and lets face it…pontoon boats are kind of…well…ugly ;o). We are also interested in ditching the canoe and getting (building?) some kayaks.
Here’s what I have so far as requirements:
-#1 …Safety of course.
-Economy in build and operation
-Ease to build
-Can be built under semi-temporary shelter in back yard in a year or so part time, 2 weeks full time.
-Pulls a tube/kneeboard/big skis/NO slalom (basically what your average pontoon boat will do)
-25 hp preferred…40 max (do I have to have more?)
-Trailerable behind Volvo wagon (3k lb towing capacity)
-Can be rigged for family of 4 camping*
-*I’d like to rig it modularly for different arrangements (example: removable cuddy, different seating, berths, w/or/wo porta potty etc…)(I would consult the designer of course)
-I’d like to have room for up to 2 small families of 4 for afternoon cruising/picnicking. (This is the Wife’s # 1 requirement) but it needs to handle 6 for sure for a day of exploring/swimming/picnicing, 4 comfortably.
-Protected and coastal waters, open waters for short distances in very good weather (example: Block Is., L.I. Sound, Chesapeake crossing). CT river mostly.
-1 person trailer in good weather 2 people to trailer in bad (I could used to do it single-handedly (barely) in real bad weather with my 18’ Glastron back in TX when I was much younger)
-Some exposed wood grain beauty (epoxied for low maintenance)
-I have to register it here in CT
-‘Wife wants pontoon boat but if we can fit 2 families of 4 on a boat…even only once or twice…she’ll be very happy.
Here are my design selections so far, somewhat in order of preference:
-Bowdidge Marine Designs - Bosun’s Mate 23
Is this slight vee hull going to take too much power to get up on a plane? I like the open plan and how the seats are arranged. I feel I could fit 8 folks on it and have storage and rig it for family cruising/camping to my liking easily. How many of these have been built and are there any pics anywhere?
-Spira International – Carolina Dory 18, 20, & 24' Key Largo, - Pacific Dory 19 & 23'
I really like the simplicity of these designs. 'Prety much 2x4's and plywood epoxy glass and paint. The key largo seems to be a big light boat that'd carry 2 small families. Maybe too big? What are the functional differences between this and the similar but wider beamed pacific dory? I like the upturned shear lines on the Carloina style and the skinnier beam would require less power right?. What is the functional difference between the transom motor and the motor well. I am unfamiliar with the motor in a well. It seems like it takes up too much room.
Beautiful boat! I really like this one, especially the walk through cuddy roof design but I would prefer to have an open design that a could be modularly added on and removed later for multi-functionality. The videos seem to show the boat handling quite well. Light, 25hp...nice!
-Nexus – Outboard Dory 21 open design
I love the open/bolted gunwalls and especially the removable doug fir decking! What would be the difference between this and the Spira International designs. The open design could be fitted as I wish. Of course I would consult the designer before I would make any major additions or changes.
-Bateau OD 18, Panga 22
Bateau has many proven designs and seems to have lots to choose from. What would I be getting with them vs some of the other design package providers above? That Panga 22 shows 8 dudes in it…that’d work in place of a pontoon boat and could do costal waters too.
This boat isn’t in the same lines of some of these others above but lots of floor space for the length and my wife likes this but also 3 years after I started it an it still isn’t finished…she’d hate that. Are there any pictures of a real one of these?
Lots of designs here. I have spent many hours browsing their vast site. Love it! What would I be getting from them vs others and what are some insights on designs they have that would fit my requirements.
Mark V 20
I realy like the look of these sharpie boats. I’d love to make the Mark V 38 for retirement. That’s 20 years from now.
Here are some pontoon ideas:
-Catamaran designs: -EcoCat
That eco cat is one fine looking modern styled pontoon boat.
Glen-L: the huck fin and the super huck
Where is storage on these? Can it go into the hull?
Also what are some good places or events to go here in New England to see lots of different homebuilt boats. I am not interested in going to a "typical" boat sales show.
I know I know…lots of questions. Any help on any question or any general advice would be greatly appreciated.
Gee, those are all nice boats. Perhaps its best to become a serial boatbuilding family, order up a shipping container full of Plywood , tanker truck of resin, plenty of 80 grit sandpaper and build them all !!!!!!!!!!!!
Here, just to make your decision ever harder..check out this one, the famous designer Uffa Fox's personal skiff ... or this one by BMS yacht design...
Oh My....best if you first build a garage extension.................
I think you are going to want something with a cuddy. A place to keep your camping/other gear dry. Porta potty down below to give the girls some privacy etc. Towing using the outboard tiller is a pain, probably want something with a steering station. 4 folks fishing need some some room on the back deck so they aren't constantly bumping into each other. If you plan on trolling, again a steering station forward gets the driver out of the action zone.
They are all nice designs. To help narrow your choices, make a list of need to haves and don't want features. Also go boat shopping, not necessarily to buy, but to look at boats in the size range you are thinking about. Climb around a few that are all ready built. That will help with your want-don't want decisions. Make it a family decision, if she isn't happy, it won't get as much use.
Thanks for the insight
Thanks y'all for taking the time to reply.
I thought I'd get a lot more detailed input on this by now...HA!
I had seen so many threads where folks looking for design selection advice had such incomplete information.
Mine was probably too long a story and too many questions. I'll post another more focused one and see if I can catch some more detailed insight.
I have also written the Designers of some of the ones I am interested in. They helped alot.
Thanks so much for the sound advice. I went to a boat show with my wife this weekend. That was very helpful.
Whatever else you compromise on, an enclosed toilet will keep the woman happy.
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