trailerable unfolding houseboat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by humanscale, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. humanscale
    Joined: Nov 2014
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    humanscale Junior Member

    yeah, that is neat. I wonder why this boat didn't catch on? It certainly has advantages, but for a houseboat, I think it would be difficult to split the cabin in two and have to put up panels in the middle once unfolded (although your idea of hinged walls and roof made a couple of pages back may help). I'd contend that an advantage of my concept is that it does not break up the 8ft wide cabin, and even depends on its integrity/unity/rigidity for bracing. Also, I wonder if boats that must rely on sliding parts (tracks) tend to frequently get snagged (My concept relies on no tracks or sliding, only float out of a less buoyant middle hull, and lowering of deck onto it when repositioned (which has its own challenges!).

    If I were to start from scratch, I might have the fold out be in the middle. Another motivation for my current side-fold concept is that I can potentially start with an existing two-pontoon boat, which offers many people the opportunity to modify their existing boat.

    I'm working on a detailed weight and design decisions document that I hope to share in a few days. Today I learned a lot about trailer ramps and hinges as inspiration for my fold down deck (and "drawbridge" bed tents). Deck panels consisting of two layers of perforated corrugated aluminum offset by 90 degrees would be light and sturdy.

     

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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  2. humanscale
    Joined: Nov 2014
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    humanscale Junior Member

    Hi Everyone,
    After much delay, I've rethought my design for an unfolding, trailerable houseboat for warm weather fun in protected waters. Click on the thumbnails for larger renders. Not all renders are from the same version. I have made the walls translucent to show the interior details. Sleeps 8.

    My new design is symmetrical, helping to address weight distribution issues of the prior design. The boat could be built starting with a "standard" but reinforced pontoon boat with large pontoons, making it possible to manufacture this as an enhanced version within an existing factory.

    It has three configurations -- 1. packed up so it is legally trailerable. 2. cruise mode where the sides are lowered partially (with cables using winches) and the front is angled to provide streamlining while on the go. and 3. anchored mode where it fully unpacks, providing room and stability on the water.

    The blue volumes on the unfolding sections are lightweight plastic/synthetic floats that can be detached and moved. The main boat has left and right aluminum pontoons and a custom extra wide center pontoon. The wide center pontoon has a chamber that can be filled to become a hot tub when the boat is anchored. The beds are air mattresses, and the furniture is lightweight wicker and can be stacked/nested for efficient storage. Tent-like materials would be used for the exterior bed canopy enclosures and the exterior living spaces in the unfolded sides. The removable railings/wind fence can be installed by clicking the posts into pre-set holes in the deck.

    This boat is envisioned as a weekend to week-long "water camper" for the Georgian islands and protected harbours (summer use, perhaps some of shoulder seasons). The streamlined cruising mode will help with wind resistance, but I don't intend for this to be a fast boat or long-distance traveler. The unfolding decks could be made from lightweight material like 2-3 layered corrugated perforated aluminum. Also rendered is a streamlined version of the front floats incorporated into unfolding front deck so it wouldn't have to be moved when cruising. Obviously lots of technical and regulatory issues to be solved. I am open to any suggestions and comments. thanks!
     

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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  3. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Cant see a good reason for 3 pontoons for the main hull. Cheaper, lighter and less complicated to do a barge hull with the advantage of a lot more load carrying ability and more stability for the same amount of materials.

    Windage will be a problem when underway. Yeah you SAY sheltered, but you WILL get blown around, and square sections on the superstructure make you very vulnerable to big gusts, both on the water and on the road.
     
  4. humanscale
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    humanscale Junior Member

    thank you for those thoughtful comments.

    I will consider how to incorporate a barge hull. With such a hull, would you recommend the interior floor be recessed into the hull so it is near the waterline?

    The walls of the superstructure may catch the wind, but I don't think here they would be much different in size than other houseboats. I suppose that is a problem with lots of houseboats with cabins/superstructures. Would a barge hull lower the centre of gravity and make the boat more stable to wind? The "cruise" mode of this boat carries the blue pontoons out to the sides, with them just touching the water, providing some added stability.
     
  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    This is not really a relevant question, as it depends on the height of the sides. No way would you want any exposed floor to be lower than the waterline of course.


    No, it will be just as bad as other houseboats. If you get a look at box shaped houseboats underway, you will see how difficult slab sides and sharp edges make to manoevure . Its much more of a problem on your design, as you are trying to have an easily transportable vessel, so getting it into and out of the water, getting to a mooring site etc will be about ten times more often than many other houseboats. Ordinary yachts get blown around a lot when launching, let alone houseboats.

    I dont really get your 'bitsy' add-ons of this design. Why not have fewer but more substantial fold out bits - like two sides the length of the main hull, that can be made rigid enough to provide extra bouyancy, instead of little pods that will bounce around from every wave.

    Getting the hinge mechanisms robust and structurally strong enough provide real stability assistance for the main hull is much more difficult on small units.
     
  6. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

  7. humanscale
    Joined: Nov 2014
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    humanscale Junior Member

    Thank you. I appreciate your critical thinking!

    Re: boxed shape -- I can look at rounding the cabin to look more like an airstream trailer.

    I hadn't realized how problematic wind might be, but I can see how being on the move to/from the anchorage and into and out of the water would put it at greater risk to wind. Perhaps limiting these activities to time of the day when wind is minimal and use wind forecast would help. I would want to find a launch site close to the anchorage site that would not involve much open water travel.

    Re: 'bitsy' add-ons -- I kept them smaller (side decks would be about 5x12ft) to make it possible to hand winch them up and down. I don't intend for these to provide added buoyancy to the main vessel. I just want them to have enough buoyancy to support the added deck space while they are down. They would "hang loose" so the hinge would continue to flex when the decks are down. I realize that the hinge is a critical design feature, so that would need lots of thought. As I see it, the extent of the load on the hinge would be the flexing due to wave action while the boat is anchored (when the boat is moving, the sides are raised, so the hinges are in a locked position)
     
  8. Porsche4me
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    Porsche4me New Member

  9. Porsche4me
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    Porsche4me New Member


  10. Porsche4me
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    Porsche4me New Member

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