Drift boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by ked_man, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. ked_man
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: Lexington, KY

    ked_man New Member

    I am a virgin boat builder and am asking for advice.

    I fly fish a lot and would like a drift boat to float some of the bigger rivers that i cannot wade. I have looked into buying one but they are expensive. A decent one is at least 2000 dollars. I am looking to save some money and pick up a new hobby as well. I have a design in my head of boats I have seen before but I was wondering how important is it to build by blueprints or would one be able build a nice usable boat without one?

    I would like a kinda mackinze style river boat with a flat bottom with a square stern onto which I could mount a small motor. 3 seats and oar locks is about all I am really looking for the rest will fall into place.

    Thanks
    KED
     
  2. CET
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: Utah

    CET Senior Member

    Something like this?

    Driftboat.JPG
     
  3. CET
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    CET Senior Member

    Now that I have a few minutes to write, I wanted to add a few things about drift boats. First, for $2,000 you should not expect to get much in the way of a McKenzie style drift boat. Certainly nothing new. You may get a POS used boat without trailer or other accessories (oars, anchor, etc.).

    These days a new Hyde or Clackacraft rig, with everything you’ll need to use it, will run a minimum of $10,000. They are nice boats, especially the Hydes (I have rowed both, but I own a Hyde), but their hulls are just molded polyester fiberglass and as such are very heavy and flimsy.

    You could build a superior (lighter and stiffer) drift boat with plywood, fiberglass and epoxy using stitch-and-glue techniques for less than half the money, but it will still cost you more than $2,000.

    As far as building without plans, you could do it but you won’t know what you’ll end up with or how it will look or perform until you’re done. There are lots of good plans available, and they don’t cost much when you consider the total cost of the project. Some of them come with very detailed instructions, what materials you’ll need, where and how to use them, etc. I would strongly suggest spending a few bucks to leverage someone else’s work and experience; then you’ll know that what you’ll end up with is a nice drift boat that will work well.

    If/when I build a drift boat I will probably use plans from: http://www.montanaboatbuilders.com/ I have no affiliation with them but I have done my homework and they are the best for drift boats. Their plans are very detailed and complete and they also have an online forum with plenty of great info and advice.
     
  4. ked_man
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: Lexington, KY

    ked_man New Member

    thats exactly what I am looking for.

    But the price I was referring to was for just a plain basic boat with nothing else.

    I have looked at the designs from their website would you suggest any books that would help specifically for drift boat building if there is one. I guess what I am asking is are there any other skills needed to build a boat that a competent wood crafter doesn't already have?
     
  5. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

  6. duluthboats
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    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    Attached Files:

  7. CET
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: Utah

    CET Senior Member

    I can also recommend the book duluthboats suggested. There are a lot of lines in it and a lot of great history about the evolution of drift boats.

    What I like about Montanaboatbuilders' plans is they are more modern than most available (any, in fact). By that I mean they are designed for an oarsman in the center (roughly), a fisherman in the front and one in the back. In the past, most drift boats had theie center of buoyancy more forward to support two fisherman in front of the oarsman, which is the way most salmon and steelhead fishing was done on western rivers where the design evolved.

    These days, one fisherman in back and one in front is the norm for flyfishing, which is why boats like Hyde and Clackacraft (and the designs from Montanaboatbuilders) are wider in the back than the models you'll see from, for example, Glen-l.

    By the way, the plans from Montanaboatbuilders come in the form of a very thick spiral-bound book with VERY detailed building instructions...all the information you'll need.

    Again, I have no affiliation, I'm just very impressed with the plans I bought from them and the boats I've seen built from their plans. Nothing against Glen-l or others...their drift boat designs are just a bit dated IMO.
     
  8. thudpucker
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Location: Al.

    thudpucker Senior Member

    Ked, before you build your Fast water fly fishing platform, make an excuse to go out west and take a flyfishing trip down one of those rivers in a Drift boat.

    I built and ran them as a Kid in Washington state and built a Clark Craft drift boat in AK.
    There's a lot of interesting learning to be done. See how the boat is used. It will help you when you engineer your boat.

    There's actually two kinds of River drift boats.
    The one you take one or two clients down river in.
    And the one you and your buddy fish in.

    In any case, keep it light and have good Oars, locks, and an easy to use Anchor. The Rope seat, or kneeler may seem strange at first, but its infinately better than a sit down rowing seat. You need GOOD STRONG OARS!
    Did you need me to repeat that?

    If you have a river that needs a drift boat, there's literally no substitute.
    They are not difficult to build either. I remember doing about three a day, when he had everything all cut and the Scarfing done so all we had to do was assemble the parts and paint. Your gonna own stock in a Screw company! (all we had was those Yankee screw drivers. Whew!)

    Remember the Bottom is Temporary and replaceable. Just scarf two pieces of plywood together, flip the boat over, unscrew the old scarred up bottom and flop the new one down and screw it down. No Glue, just a line of Calk if you get excited about a little water in the boat.
    The rest of the Boat is for the most part, a very permanant structure.

    You always put the boat up and let it dry. Cover it so it can stay dry.
     

  9. ked_man
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: Lexington, KY

    ked_man New Member

    Thanks for all of the help guys. The rivers I fish aren't so much fast water like you would see out west but just rivers that can be well fished from a drift boat. Other boat styles can work there but because they are mainly designed for fly fishing they seem to work better from the consensus of the anglers I have talked to.
     
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