car topper rowboat advice

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by fish_head_soup, May 9, 2010.

  1. fish_head_soup
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    fish_head_soup Junior Member

    hi all. i am looking for a design of a very easy to build lightweight rowboat. mostly to carry down to the water and fish out of. being an efficient hull is not so much of a priority. perhaps stability is, it will be used in very sheltered ocean, mostly bays. not too too heavy as it has to either go on the roof of my honda oddesey or inside the back at times.

    ease of build is important as i am not handy. i have most of the basic tools. i was thinking a dory style or curraugh? double open sit-in kayak?

    any thoughts?
  2. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    The Gloucester Light Dory by Philip bolger is a light boat if built in the lighter version. Also check out the Cartopper by the same designer.
    Double kayaks are great until you are alone. A rowboat will usually allow center seating for one or a way to row with two or three aboard.
  3. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Alan has given two very good suggestions. For an even easier build, google the PD Racer. You can also find it at the Duckworks site. Plans are free and I think that there is a NZ firm that furnishes kits. The PDR is mainly designed as a sail boat but it would work very well with oars or a very small engine or trolling motor. It is ugly personified but it is a proven design that has many owners who are quite happy with it.
  4. fish_head_soup
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    fish_head_soup Junior Member

    thanks guys. i reckon that pdracer might be a bit of me messabout, cheers. just ugly enough to hide my lack of skills!
  5. yipster
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    yipster designer

  6. AnalogKid
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    AnalogKid Junior Member

  7. fish_head_soup
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    fish_head_soup Junior Member

    analogkid, just got rid of my copy of john's book and i think it had plans for the fishhook in it? a good example of a "DOH!" moment!

    tipster, i've been looking at some used inflatables and if it works out cheaper i'll buy before building as time is something i have little of these days. thats why the pdracer sounded good to me.
  8. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

  9. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

  10. peterAustralia
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    peterAustralia Senior Member


    You have mentioned PD Racer and have metnioned a dory. Hmm. You want a small cartoppable rowboat that is reasonably stable. The RD Racer is boat designed for sailing, not rowing.

    I have a dory, they are good seaboats, but maybe too long to cartop with as much esae as a smaller boat. Try and keep your boat light, 30kg might be doable with some luck.

    My suggestion is s simple rowing skiff, maybe 12ft long. If you are going in reasoably protected areas, you probably dont really need the extra sea worthiness that the dory provides.

    my suggestion is something like this, but a bit shorter. These are my lines, but use the web and look for a similar looking boat, about 11ft to 12ft long

    some links here

    and mroe links here
  11. fish_head_soup
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    fish_head_soup Junior Member

    hoytedow, my wagon has roof rails on it, i'll be fabricating some way of holding the boat on to it. some good info on that link cheers.

    peter, you've raised some very good points. when i think about a suitable boat i have a very strong tendancy to get sidetracked. i have recently sold my boat, a short wide polyethylene fishing boat. i simply need something to get me out on the water. last month i took the family away to the beach and there was a 9 foot dinghy there and i took my two boys out for a fish 150 meters from shore and realized how little i could get by with.

    it has to be able to be carried on the roof as the nearest boat ramp is a nightmare unless you get there before 5am. also there are lots of very good fishing bays within a short drive but they don't have a ramp. i am pretty sure i have found what i need.... have the plans downloaded and will ask my father in law to help me build it over the winter with my boys. he's made four sailboats now so i'm confident we can pull this off.

    i'd like a larger boat again one day and if this goes well will hopefully build again.
  12. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Have a look at the excellent 'Hannu's boatyard'. He has theory, cutting patterns and full instructions on line, all free, and prides himself on simplicity. His favoured method of jointing seems to be taped joints but using temporary blocks and screws instead of copper wire stitching.

    Hannu's boatyard:

    Here is one of his simplest boats

    Attached Files:

  13. thedutchtouch
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    thedutchtouch Junior Member

    Hannu's plans are great, i used them mainly when designing my own boat. be wary as a first time builder- weight can creep up if you don't keep an eye on it. i used junk wood, a heavy hand with my fillets/epoxy, and a bit too much bracing, and my boat turned out about 135 lbs rather than the planned 95. :rolleyes: still cartoppable, but a good reason to build a second one.
  14. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Hoyt's link is useful especially for a canoe or kayak. I also use the pads shown in that link, I find they will sit on the roof rack cross rails without budging. I hold the boat on with just 2 cross-straps which have never let go, but I run a cord to the front of the car to stop the boat rolling off into traffic just in case. It is visible through the windshield so I get a warning if the front of the boat is shifting, and a small flag at the rear does the same - it is visible through the back window. I don't like using bow/stern tie-downs on relatively flimsy canoes, too much strain.

    A larger boat like a dinghy needs something more substantial to rest on. I use the same tie-down and tell-tale scheme for mine, but I put a pair of 2 x 4's across the rails of the roof rack first to provide a firmer surface.

    I made a clamping arrangement with wingnuts just to hold the 2 x 4's in place on the rack while I put the boat up, but they do not hold the boat! The straps run from side rail to side rail over the boat so they hold the 2 x 4's down as well as the boat when I am travelling.

    For carrying kayaks, I have slots cut in the 2 x 4's which engage in the cockpit coaming; that allows me to carry the kayaks upside-down without shifting or rolling under the straps.

  15. portacruise
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    portacruise Senior Member

    For stability and lightness, I would go with an inflatable pontoon style. I don't particularly like this company, but there are others that make larger or smaller versions that are still car toppable. Solid versions can be built that are only slightly heavier. The advantages are very easy launch, no scratch PVC car top material, easy mount/dismount- can just walk into or stand up in shallow water without having to balance and move around to shove off. Some designs are the most comfortable boats that will allow you to sit for hours, almost like in an easy chair for relaxing. Also track well and require very little effort to power. JMHO.


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