is it possible to design a cartopper that can sleep 2 overnight?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by thedutchtouch, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. thedutchtouch
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    thedutchtouch Junior Member

    in a tent or under the stars is fine, but is this even possible? i'd think that a boat small enough (light enough) to cartop would also be too small/light to be safe overnight, but still wonder. thoughts?
     
  2. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    The short answer is yes, it's possible and it has been done many times, but most folk will head to shore and flip the boat to use as a wind/rain shelter.

    However if the requirement is to sleep on board and afloat, that is possible. I'm not sure I would want to do it but I have reached an age at which comfort has assumed a greater significance than in the distant past :)

    The requirements would be:
    small enough and light enough to car top (no brainer)
    enough cockpit space for (how many? two would be nice)
    safe and dry storage space for cruise provisions including water
    anchor, mooring lights
    backup propulsion method
    provision to rig a shelter (a cabin conflicts with car-topping)

    Weight depends on the person or people. One person can load and unload 100 lb of boat or thereabouts which more or less any car can handle, two could manage around 150 lb - car and the law permitting.

    What kind of boat? First there's the paddle/row/sail/motor decision to be made. For person-power propulsion nothing beats a canoe IMHO for capacity and ease of moving through the water; there are some nice rowboats but do you want to cruise for days facing backwards? however a dinghy is wider and more comfortable for sleeping arrangements, and gives the sailing option. Oh yes, you can sail a canoe, but it's not really dry enough for a cruise.

    I don't want to talk about power ... but a buddy of mine did a cruise with a mate (not me!!) in a small inflatable with a tiny outboard and survived.

    The "Small Craft Advisor" magazine deals with the kind of boats you would need and issue #57 has an article on cartopping a sailboat. it lists several designs including Phil Bolger's 11-1/2 ft car topper dinghy and Ian Oughtred's shearwater at 12'.

    I have several car-toppers, mostly ultralight canoes around 20 lb that can be loaded with one hand but are not practical for overnighting, and a 10 ft, 60 lb sailboat which can also be cartopped by one with ease, and could perhaps be modified, but too much of a squeeze for two, I think. I built it with a transom and my method for car-topping it is to stand it on end leaning against the back of my van, then I lift the stern raising only half the boat weight until the foredeck is resting on the roof rack, then I slide it forward. Very easy despite arthritis and other old fart stuff.

    What are your requirements? Build or buy? What can your car handle?
     
  3. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I guess the key issue is where the thing is going to be anchored overnight.
     
  4. Perm Stress
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    Do you need sitting headroom inside hard cabin? If so, height top-to-bottom will be ~1.3m + structure, a bit over the roof for cartopping.
    For sleeping, assuming sitting headroom is provided by tent/lifting cabin top/etc., top-to-bottom height would be 0.6-0.7m plus structure, assuming berth is not above the floorboards. Than, making a hull with fore transom (like Optimist or skow, or OK dingy...) in order to get more "floor" area for given length, it should be doable.
     
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Everything is Possible. The size and carring capacity of you car roof are the limmiting factors. Here are a few suggestions. Lengthen the car top rack, lengthen the car to accomadate a civilized craft or simply modify your rig into a car boat live aboard. Should work.
     

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  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Wow, what a tough SOR.

    I guess what I'm saying is your assumptions are correct and small, light boats are not well suited to spending the night on the water, just too much motion with the slightest of provocation.

    In know people who routinely spend the night on 200 pound (91 kilo) boats, but this wouldn't be the typical car topper. These same people are also still young enough to fall asleep on a wooden deck. I guess it depends on how well you can accept motion while trying to sleep. While you're asleep, it's a non-issue, but falling asleep in an uncomfortable environment, requires you to be extremely tired.
     
  7. HELLICONIA54
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    HELLICONIA54 HELLICONIA54

    A Puddleduck is 8X4 (minus floatation)sail,row or small outboard.Car toppable and cheap! A tent can by errected over cockpit.Very stable too.
     
  8. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I'd say an inflatable is the most likely candidate. Sweet dreams !
     
  9. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    Sleep ashore?

    My earliest cruising was done on small boats hauled ashore and provisioned with the standard gear as one would bring when backpacking- light tent, camp stove, sleeping pads etc.

    Boat for this type of cruising range from the smallest of open shells to canoes and kayaks.

    You are also in MD.
    Out at the shore on the back bay of Assateague Island there are National park 'trails' that are really mapped out courses through the back salt marshes. Set at comfortable day cruising distances apart are timber platforms where one ties up the craft and sets up a tent.
    I believe I remember similar trails in the Florida everglades (Par?).

    Also before I got into larger cruising boats I had imagined longer cruises (around Nova Scotias cape Breton Island) and others.

    Its done- and going ashore gives a chance to stretch the legs.
    Use real caution on open water. Small boats need some experience to correctly judge how far and under what conditions that can make way under towards your days destination. Especially off season- every couple of years someone dies on the Chesapeake when they attempt a crossing in rough conditions and get into the water- there is only so long one can hold onto a small craft before fatigue and cold gets them.

    On a lighter note...

    I learned how to sail from a real charm of a book called

    'Dingy Sailing- for the Non-Racing Man'

    It was written in United Kingdom ~1945 and carries all one needs to know to cruise small boats.
    We are talking 8 to 12 footers here.
    A real pleasure to read as it was filled with that simple wonder over boats- the outfitting and driving them towards that destination of one desire.

    I will find the book print a photo or two.
     
  10. hoytedow
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    hoytedow I'm not a cat.

    If you can sew you can make a customized tent that snaps onto the hull at the end of the day and taken down in the morning. Keep gasoline fumes out of the enclosure.
     
  11. BrianPearson
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    BrianPearson Junior Member

  12. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think that a 12' flat bottom boat can easily be cartopped. That is stable and has enough space for two people.
     
  13. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Agreed.

    BTW, if you want to sleep aboard, the PuddleDuck is not your boat. Check out the bottom curvature, only the middle 3 feet is flat; a recipe for scoliosis if ever I saw one ...
     
  14. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    A 15ft aluminium Jon boat comfortably sleeps two for overnight cruises and easily fits into the trunk of most mid size sedans .
     

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  15. Perm Stress
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    :D :D :D
     
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