Dedicated Pacific Northwest Little Crabber

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Shawnzoom, May 19, 2012.

  1. Shawnzoom
    Joined: May 2012
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    Location: Seattle

    Shawnzoom I'm here to learn

    Lil’ Crabber

    Hi there, one thing I really appreciate about this forum is the breadth design ideas that can be sparked from a simple thread. I’m hoping this thread will continue the trend.

    I’m looking for design ideas for a ‘dedicated’ crabbing boat (I’m calling her Lil’ Crabber), for use in the protected bays of Puget Sound.
    Note: I have already had the ‘you should build from professional plans advice’.

    Here is my situation:
    I live in the Seattle area and I do a lot of crabbing, both in summer and winter. The particular stretch of water where I do my crabbing is well protected. Some mornings and evenings the water is like glass and you can see the odd sculler on the water. However, when a north or south wind, rips through the bay, it is easy to get 2’-4’ swells. I currently use either an

    AquaPro SMR 901 Super Light RIB – aluminum hull,

    LOA 9’
    Inside beam 2’ 2”
    Total weight: 30kg

    Or…. A
    Walker Bay RID 310


    Overall Length (cm / feet) 310 cm / 10′ 2″
    Beam (cm / feet) 183 cm / 6′
    Inside Beam (cm / feet) 135 cm / 4′ 5″
    Total Weight (kg / lbs) 68 / 149
    Airtight Compartments 4

    I use the boats with a Tohatsu 6hp 4-stroke MODEL#: MFS6CS - Short Shaft, weight 57 lbs. I launch ( a lot of times single handily) from the beach with a homemade aluminum boat dolly.

    While each boat will ‘bring home the crab’; they are, by many accounts, not well suited to the task. Especially, when there wind and swell is up, which is most of the time in winter. In fact, I would even say it is not all that safe. Let’s just say pulling a crab pot by hand, from a 100’ of water, in the rain, in the cold, with the wind howling, in 2’ -4’ swells, can be interesting and is primary reason I bought myself a dry suit, just for winter crabbing.

    So here’s what I think I need in the design
    • Light enough to single handily launch and retrieve from the beach with a boat dolly
    • Able to handle a 6hp Tohatsu 4 stroke, short shaft
    • Ability to ‘get me home’ row, in case the motor conks out
    • An inside beam of at least 4’, for 3.5’, around the midship area
    • I need this so I can have two crab traps stand side-by-side and still be able to move fore and aft on the boat
    • Sea worthy enough in 2’-4’ swells…
    • so it is safe for me to stand and manually pull the crab pots from 100’ of water
      so I can move from the bow to stern to restart my engine, with or without crab pots on board​
    • Maximum LOA should be 11’

    My current thinking for overall hull shape is some kind of double-ender type boat. Why? To me, the biggest risk is that of being swamped while I’m not under power.

    Any pointers would be much appreciated.

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  2. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    What makes you think a 'double-ended' boat will be safer ? You are talking very small craft here that really should not be venturing into disturbed waters.
  3. Shawnzoom
    Joined: May 2012
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    Location: Seattle

    Shawnzoom I'm here to learn

    I don't want this thread to turn into a boating safety thread. But let me try to answer your question.

    I think a double-ender would be safer because...

    • Observation of double-ended drift boat handling on white water.
    • Through my personal experience of the handling of the AquaPro and Walker Bay with oars in conditions where there is a good swell. That is, I'm a lot happier/safer when I can keep the pointy bow into seas rather than the flat ended transom.
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    A strongly raking transom will act differently, but does not take a motor very well. What keeps you safe is sufficient buoyancy in the ends. A small double ender cannot provide this, and they tend to be long and lean. Check out a Scandanavian pram, commonly used for longshore fishing. A 14' Pram will ride over almost anything unless you grossly overload it, is easy to row and motor, is a simple boat to build and is very strong in lapstrake ply. Claud Worth's 1885 French Auray Dinghy is an excellent simplified model and I think Bolger drew a version. I've built a couple of modified Aurays of my own design and they are very dry in bad chop, pack well and are perfect for beach launching. Here's a photo of an eleven footer of mine. The originals have a raking transom because they were for oars only, but I put a 2hp Honda on this one and it goes over hull speed.

    Attached Files:

    Joined: Apr 2010
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Also, drift boats do good in white water due to the extreme sheer, which provides sufficient displacement to keep the ends dry when the boat is pitching wildly in white water. With that sheer, transoms on both ends would act the same, but provide more room and displacement. Chinese vessels made for violent river rapids have raking blunt ends but do fine and carry very large loads.
  6. Shawnzoom
    Joined: May 2012
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    Location: Seattle

    Shawnzoom I'm here to learn

    BATAAN, thanks for the tip on Scandanavian pram. Can you recommend some study plans?

    Regarding your above quote.

    If I used a design with a motor well, and floatation in teh bow and transom, could I not get the buoyancy I need?

    Have you seen the McKenzie 12' trapper square ender?
  7. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    Trouble is, no matter where you stand in such a small boat, that will be pointing to windward as the rest of the boat floats higher and gets blown downwind. Little boats in crappy weather do better with flare, but you can't handle pots over flare. If you were willing to go up a size or two and look at a 350 pound 15 footer powered by a ten hp that can carry five pots and probably a little hot head winch as well, then your chances of working safely in a cold wet bay are greatly improved. I don't know anything about the Seattle area crabbing, but I worked stone crab traps in the keys out of my skiff. I really cant think of a better tiny solution than a RIB with some old carpet glued to the sides.

    You might experiment with an old Hobie Wave catamaran to see if you could deck it over in such a way that if you are hauling the pots the motor will keep you pointed into the wind and on station. (three HP kicker swung into reverse and pulling you upwind backwards.) There are GPS controlled trolling motors as well. They might be the best solution.
  8. Shawnzoom
    Joined: May 2012
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    Location: Seattle

    Shawnzoom I'm here to learn

    Thanks for your reply PhilSweet. I may end up moving up a size, to a point, but I first want to explore what could be accomplished with a dedicated design.

    As for the winch and GPS control, I want to keep the design, and logistics simple. For hauling the pots, I'm just going to use a removable bow roller. I have a TR-1 Gold (GPS Trolling motor control), on my big boat and it truely is a wonderful device.

  9. eyschulman
    Joined: Jul 2011
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    Location: seattle Wa USA

    eyschulman Senior Member

    Look at some of Sam Devlins stich and glue boats-pull up on net devlindesigningboatbuilders. This may give you some ideas or you may even find his plans or a kit the answer. I agree with other posts about the small double ender not a good idea maybe thats why you don't see any. If you want double ended and small and seaworthy forget the motor and go to a sit on wide rotomolded fishing- expidition kayak.
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