The Mighty Mekong expedition boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by greginlaos, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    If my memory does not cheat me it was called "Mae´s". It provided a barbeque on the table and they served the first course prepared for you, then you had to make the rest yourself. That was about ten years ago, and yes, in Luang Praabang.

    The wages I paid in SE Asia have not been as high as in Germany, of course! What I meant, was to pay them adequate to get a acceptable quality. Seems you do it that way.

    And I agree that Thais are not as easy to cope with as the Lao are.

    Back on topic.

    Why don´t you just go for a design similar to the FAO vessels of the larger size?
    Forget about pontoons and cats. They may be a nice solution on the lower Mekong, where the water level is more predictable, but not on the smaller rivers you navigate and not on the upper Mekong where you are.

    Go longer when you need more accommodation. It provides higher speed also. A boat of 10x2,20 meters should be transportable over the roads, when you build a trailer for it. It will not happen too often, I assume?

  2. Bruce46
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Bruce46 Junior Member

    In view of the OP’s original goals, A simple but elegant solution would a garvey hull with a shallow vee bottom and a long tail stinger outboard such as
    These are quite common in Asian countries and well suited to trash filled waters. Since the OP is familiar with steel fab and high speed is not an issue, I believe it to be the best answer and would be a boat that the locals would be comfortable with.
  3. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    cool pictures Brian
    but I'm not so sure that is what our OP was after
  4. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Attached Files:

  5. greginlaos
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    Location: Luang Prabang Lao PDR

    greginlaos GreginLaos

    Sorry for my absence.. Have been up in the bush again.

    Now I understand the Mae's thing. What you are referring too is Sin Dad restaurant. There are lots of them here along the river. Sort of a DIY Bar - B - Que. Really tasty but famous for breeding stomoch busgs if not cooked properly.

    I think this discussion is getting close to a solution to my "problem". The catamaran / pontoon idea is great for the lower reaches as suggested but too wide for the bits of the rivers that I frequent.

    The idea of widening the FAO design appeals. Maybe I could just add 500 mm in the middle of the plan so that it has a flat bottom. I will make some sections for comment.
  6. longtailboats
    Joined: Dec 2010
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    Location: thailand

    longtailboats Thai sean

    longtail thai and lao boats


    I build longtail boats in Thailand specially designed to go in less water than Thai anf Lao boats. See my site, read my blog view pics and videos and feel free to ask any questions. please use the forum only. See the site at

    Sawadee, Sean

    Just joined, so greetings to everyone. (Sabaii dii)

    I live in the Lao PDR (between Thailand and Vietnam) in a town called Luang Prabang.. a fantastically beautiful place on the Mekong River. Very few roads here, limited technology, lots of mountains and unmapped landscapes, but many many fact the entire country is accessible by these waterways if you can use them.

    Spent a lot of time in boats in other places so want to build one a small one here to explore this amazing place (+ Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam) . I now run a workshop here and have some very skilled local tradesmen (mostly metal work) , not strong on technology but incredibly skillful at sticking pieces of metal together accurately, basic mechanics..and survival engineering...fantastic team...

    So am pleading for help with the design in return for hosting anyone who would like to visit here, as much BeerLao as you can drink , personal guided tours, all the Mekong fish you can eat, etc etc...

    Boat must be:

    Small (>7m) / shallow draft (>300 mm) ;

    Very tough (probably steel hull) as there are lots of rocks, floating logs, no info and variable depths during wet / dry season;

    Low power, no access to "proper marine gear" so will use the trusty Kobota 14 hp thumper diesel (RT140 DI-ES) if I can (if not am open to suggestions). It is cheap (I already have one) , very reliable and you can buy parts at any village market (almost). I will have to use a light truck gearbox for F - N - R as I have not really got an option, importing stuff is a nightmare and no one here uses a gearbox in their boats;

    Don't matter if its slow, (Sabii Sabii) in fact most of the smaller rivers are too full of snags to do anything more than a few knots but need to make at least 5 to get ahead of the current;

    So please help me out with any suggestions that you might have re: designs, personal experiences, anything else you can think of.

    Kind regards

  7. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    I would lengthen it as well as making it wider. Why restricting it to 7 or 8 meter?

  8. SKR
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    SKR Alexander

  9. greginlaos
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    greginlaos GreginLaos

    The length restriction is about getting it on a truck and into the river. Also I would like to be able to turn it around in the small rivers that I want to exoplore.

    I am working on some frame sections, will post them when I get them finished and also when I can work out how to upload them.

    I love the mud motor things..
  10. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Greg I understood your road transport requirement, but that is not the main purpose of the craft, right? Hence my suggestion to make it longer, and build a simple trailer for the few occasions it has to be transported.
    But it is always a compromise when it is a boat, no way around it.;)

    Forget about these mud buddy toys, you are talking business in Laos, not having fun in the US. Your Kubota is a good choice, so stay with it and build the craft around it.

  11. greginlaos
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    Location: Luang Prabang Lao PDR

    greginlaos GreginLaos

    I intend too, I was just amused that peoplen have imported technology to the US from Asia,,

    I will be away for a week or so so please excuse any delay in responses.
  12. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Others: gunpowder, chopsticks, ma jong, Zatoichi movies and my favorite; Chinese food, just to name a few. :D

  13. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Wavewacker Senior Member

    What about a metal sharpie? There was a messabout where they bolted several (lots) sharpie hulls together (one bow section) and a series of hulls forming a boat at 80 feet I think it was.

    For areas of deeper waters you could have 2 or 3 sections, if you need to get up area to explore a small tributary, take the bow and aft section and anchor the rest of the boat or the middle sections, but you would want to come back....:D

    Just a thought....
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