size of boat to get anywhere

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Hornblower, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. Hornblower
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    Hornblower Junior Member

    Hey,

    I´m thinking about the size of my prospective boat. It should be a kind of small houseboat to go anywhere. It must enable me to travel every navigable waterway in Europe, even the smallest one. And this is my question: What is the smallest navigable waterway (river, canal) in Europe? Where is it and how small must a boat be to travel on it? And how about the rest of the world?

    I´m curious about your tips.

    Cheers

    Hb
     
  2. aranda1984
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    aranda1984 aranda1984

    Samllest navigable river in Europe

    With due respect ... take your pick...
    Just look at the map. Your question is way too broad to answer it.

    On the other hand, it is not the rivers, but the bridges (Paris, Amsterdam etc...) that will give you a head ache!;)
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Boat length and to a large part beam aren't you're biggest problems, but height off the water will be, as stated.

    Aranda is correct, your question is much like asking, "which woman would make the best wife". As a rule, houseboats aren't well suited for cruising very far. To much windage and not enough consideration to propulsion, efficiency or sea worthiness.
     
  4. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    Par? A 20 year old nymphomanic that owns a bar!!
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Okay, no problem Poida, your wish is my command. Poooof, one bar owning, 20 year old, 350 pound, part time sumo wrestling, nymphomaniac, with a bar bell piercing using a real, 10 pound bar bell.
     
  6. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    350 pound but 9 feet tall.
     
  7. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Does this include the "narrowboat" canals of UK?
     
  8. LP
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    LP Flying Boatman

    I don't know. What will 350 pounds fit through? :eek:
     
  9. Thames
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    Thames Junior Member

    I think the navigable waterways in Britain are some of the narrowest in Europe. The maximum 'go anywhere' size is roughly 7' beam, 60' length, 2' draft and 6' above the waterline. Yes very long as the canals here were designed for our traditional horse-drawn narrow boats 300 years ago.

    Even smaller would open up some lovely rivers and backwaters that are not considered navigable by most, but you can still get all over the country on the larger navigable canals and rivers.

    There's no limit - the smaller and shallower the more places you can pass through.

    I too want a small boat - the best I've seen so far are the micro-cruisers designed and built by Matt Layden of Florida or Sven Yrvind of Sweden. See www.yrvind.com and www.microcruising.com. They average about 15' length, 4' beam, 3' air draft (without mast) and only 6-10" water draft. But you'd have to build it yourself. The only plans currently available are for the Paradox by Matt Layden, in plywood.

    The next size up you can buy very cheaply second-hand - a small yacht with a lifting keel or with twin bilge keels, for example a Hurley or Westerly about 20' long, which you can buy in England in good condition ridiculously cheap from £1000 up. Maybe 1' draft for a lifting keel and 3' for a bilge keel yacht. You must find one with the mast in a tabernacle, or fit a tabernacle which is basically a hinge enabling you to drop the mast down to deck level to go under a bridge. These are seaworthy boats and some types have gone right around the world. Search www.apolloduck.co.uk and specify 'Sailing Yacht'.

    It's really a compromise between living space/comfort, and the versatility and range of your boat. More living space, headroom, and stability means more weight, deeper draft, higher freeboard and greater beam (all or a combination of these). How simple can you live?

    (All measurements are in feet and inches sorry about that.)
     
  10. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    I second the suggestion that the smaller the boat the more versatile she becomes.....

    In the late 1800's John MacGregor popularized cruising in canoes, his Rob Roy design is 15' long, 28" beam, 9" depth, and weighs 80 pounds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_MacGregor_%28sportsman%29

    As young men (1890's) Albert Strange and George Holmes cruised throughout Europe in their small "Canoe yawls" of about 13' by 3'4". Cassy designed by G. Holmes is an example. The main advantage of these very small cruisers was they could be easily shipped in a standard rail carriage. As they got older their boats got a little larger, around 19-21' by about 5'4".

    http://www.canoeyawl.org/

    Of course everyone's definition of "house" is different......

    Cassy-001.jpg
     
  11. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Here's a micro cruiser by Kees Prins of Port Townsend at the recent Wooden Boat Festival. It's a modified Iain Oughtred FULMAR dinghy.
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?136835-Kees-Prins-s-Fetch-a-great-small-cabin-boat
    It's only about 15 feet long, yet has incredible sitting space below due to his clever folding seat/berths. I sat down there and it was like a La-Z-Boy, a real comfortable, down below seat. Yet the cabin top is very low and not ugly, there's a watertight lazarette, the mast and boom stow in engineered brackets for trailering or the low-bridge or long low tunnel passage, and all in all one of the nicest tiny pocket cruisers I've seen lately.
    Hopefully he and Iain will have plans out soon.
     

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  12. m3mm0s rib
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    m3mm0s rib Senior Member

    At sea, the length is irreplaceable. The larger a boat is better and more secure it .
     
  13. Hornblower
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    Hornblower Junior Member

    Hey,

    thanks for your comments.

    @aranda1984: Hight is not the point, the boat might have 2m or less above the water. So every bridge over a navigable (with motorboats not only canoes) waterway should be high enough.

    @BATAAN & Thames: You are right, I am thinking about a design similar to the english Narrowboats. I hired them several times so I know the small locks in UK, allowing boats up to 2,10m width. I was wondering if there are smaller ones around Europe. And anyway as I do not live in the UK I am interested where the limits are in the rest of Europe.

    @Tad & BATAAN & m3mm0s rib: I already read about microcruisers and canoes with sails, but as I plan to travel on rivers and canals a sailboat would not be my choice. A mast would trouble with bridges and a keel would trouble with shallow water.


    Cheers.

    Hb
     
  14. aranda1984
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    aranda1984 aranda1984

    European waterways and house boats

    Hello Hornblower.

    In Canada. we think different when somebody calls a watercraft a house boat.

    We think of an ugly, rectangular, top heavy block with railings on top so that a lot of drunks can have fun on the roof.
    (Not that long ago, one flipped over on lake Okanagan in BC, killing somebody in it.)

    The English river barges are quite different, by comparison.

    Depending on the country that you want to explore, their tourist information office will give you a data sheet on the bridge clearances on the specific rivers, the average water depth, navigable width etc...

    I found one, covering the Danube river, just by google-ing the name. It's a few years old and it still lists a bridge in Serbia as a temporary bridge.

    Good luck with your dreams...

    Stephen
     
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  15. Thames
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    Thames Junior Member

    I don't know the maximum dimensions for the European waterways but they are generally MUCH, much bigger than the British waterways. A boat that can fit in our canals can go anywhere in Europe.
     
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