View Full Version : A little help picking a plan please

10-04-2000, 02:24 PM
I would appreciate your thoughts on selecting a plan. Here are my criteria:
Time is a premium for me - so long term, complicated plans are out.
I'd like to fish and sail with it
I have two small kids (8 and 5) and wife, although I'm not sure she'd be up for it.
If possible - easy enough to place on top of my van.

Thus far, I'm seriously considering:

The Cartopper 9 from Platt Monfort who has designed those geodesic aerolite boats made with Dacron skins

The Laker 12 from Clark Craft in NY (although I don't know if this is car toppable)

Or a Glen-L 11, or "Topper" from Glen-L

Any thoughts or suggestions would be most appreciated. TIA everyone.

Don Maurer
10-04-2000, 03:18 PM
Take a look at the Jimmy Skiff from Chesapeake Light Craft. http://www.clcboats.com/
It can be built as a rowing or sailing option. I have not built their kit, but they have an excellent reputation for quality, relatively fast built kits. You may want to post a message on their bulletin board to get an estimate of how long it may take to build one.

garland reese
10-04-2000, 04:26 PM
have a look at the Bay River Skiff at www.bandbyachtdesigns.com (http://www.bandbyachtdesigns.com) The boat is not cartoppable, but the extra room will be a welcomed luxury, if you want to take the family. The boat can be rowed, sailed or motored and with a boom tent, you and the kiddos can have a high old time.
The cat ketch rig is simple and "cool", I think. Easy to build, easy to rig, and it should be easy to sail. If your wife is going need to be sold on the idea of a small boat, this one will at least optimize your chances of getting her hooked. Show her the picture of the sunrise, as seen from the boom tent of Loon.....it's pretty romantical.
An added bonus of the Bay River is that it should be very easy and economical to build.
Maybe even easier than the Laker or Glen-L boats.
Best of luck in your search,

Chad Smith
10-04-2000, 04:33 PM
Check out the small boat section here http://www.bateau.com/


Keith Wilson
10-04-2000, 04:42 PM
You might look at Phil Bolger's "cartopper" design: http://www.instantboats.com/boats.html
It's quite good looking (much nicer in reality than it looks in the pictures on the site), easy to build, good sailer.

I would suggest, however, that any boat that can carry two adults and two children (and they're not getting any smaller) comfortably would probably work better on a light trailer than on the top of the car. Less hassle in the long run, IMHO. It's quite easy to convert a $150 utility trailer to carry a small boat. If you might go that route, check out some of the other Bolger designs, particularly "Gypsy" and "Tiny Cat".

10-04-2000, 05:24 PM
Where does one get a $150 utility trailer, and how (basically) is it converted? It sounds like a great idea, one I might want to employ.

10-04-2000, 06:02 PM
I passed a converted pickup trailer yesterday. The bed and Axle of an old Toyota (TM) pickup with a hitch welded to the I-beams. Not first class, but you know it'll carry the weight.


10-04-2000, 07:07 PM

I have a $89 trailer kit in use (non-boat) that has lots of highway miles with a 450 lb load from Harbor Freight. Took hours and hours to assemble, and salt water would probably kill it.

Here is one I like better, UPS shipable, made for boats to 14' and 600 lbs. but, it is $400.


garland reese
10-04-2000, 11:03 PM
stevenson projects used to have some plans for a wooden boat trailer on their web site. They are the folks who have the weekender designs. the trailer is made for those boats, which are around 16' sans bowsprit. www.stevensonprojects.com (http://www.stevensonprojects.com)

10-04-2000, 11:41 PM
Stevenson Projects also has some nice looking small sail boats, although like the others, I'm not sure any car toppable boat would seat two adults and two kids and leave room for fishing gear!

I think the fastest construction type would be stitch and glue, with the plywood "torsion box" approach like Stevenson Projects a close second. The larger the boat, the longer it will take to build (not a hard and fast rule, but my Weekender is now past the 1 year point, and I've got a month or two to go.)

10-05-2000, 05:53 AM
My booklets page has a number of small sailers (with a lot more coming soon) and one on building a small boat trailer.

10-05-2000, 06:38 AM
"If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
Sailing, fishing, whatever, any possible happy use of your boat will depend upon how easy the boat is to deal with and how secure SWMBO feels in it w/ her children. Montfort's Geodesic's are, IMHO, too twiddly, too fragile. You want wifey to feel enfolded, protected, warm-n-fuzzy safe.
Otherwise "That Boat" will seldom get used unless you go out alone. In my experience boats are the guy's dream. Many women only tolerate our dreams at best. Obviously, not all women. There are several women here who are far saltier than I.

Jack C
10-05-2000, 08:09 AM
Among the other suggestions, try looking at Jim Michalak's designs at http://www.apci.net/~michalak/ I've got the plans for Mixer, a 12 ft. row/sail cartopper. For more stability look at the Piccup Pram. Lots of good ideas here and they don't cost much to put together.


Keith Wilson
10-05-2000, 08:47 AM
The trailer I converted came from Northern Hydraulics - Small and red, $139, with about a 4' x 4' deck meant for a half-sheet of plywood. The boat was a Bolger Gypsy, 16' x 4', maybe 150 lbs? Too small for a normal boat trailer, too big to cartop. Conversion consisted of making a much longer tongue from a piece of square steel tubing from the scrapyard, 4" x 4" x .09 or so, fastened on with U-bolts, and making wooden bunks and a V-shaped piece for the stem. Took about four hours altogether, once I got the material. No welding. You don't need a winch for a boat this small, and the spars sat in the boat. That was back when I had more time than money; now I have less time ;)

By gum, here it is! the very same trailer, although the price has gone up a little, and Northern Hydraulics is now Northern Tool and Equipment.

http://www.northerntool.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prrfnbr=7262&prmenbr=6970 (http://www.northerntool.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prrfnbr=7262&prmenbr=6970)

Northern is also a very good source for trailer parts, if you want to build your own. They have a small boat trailer too, but it's $300 and the conversion is so easy, I wouldn't bother. Here's the link to their trailer page:

[This message has been edited by Keith Wilson (edited 10-05-2000).]

12-31-2000, 09:30 AM
Take a lot at the various Grand Banks Dorys,and their descendents.

In the first place I would never consider a boat for four people under 12' and 15-16' would be a lot better. The average dory is 18-19', easily trailerable, extremely sea kindly, roomey enough for day trips and fishing gear, food and everyone.

With youngsters this age you could have a lot of fun making it a family building project.
Get them involved now in your plans search, it will pay off.

Ross Faneuf
12-31-2000, 06:04 PM
Take a look at the Pooduck Skiff by Joel White, plans available from WoodenBoat. Would be trailerable only - a little too heavy and clumsy to get onto a car top. But a nice, strong, stable boat. Coincidentally, very near the size of 'Amazon' (cf. 'Swallows and Amazaon' by Arthur Ransome. Your kids are EXACTLY the right age for Arthur Ransome - don't miss reading this to them before it's too late!!!)

01-01-2001, 08:42 PM
Plot Monfort's 9' is a good choice although i'd go with Michalak's Piccup pram. Very sturdy and sails great. More child resistant than geodesic construction. Good for kids because it is so stable. Jim's boats are usually built with home improvement center materials. If you would go w/Okumme ply & lighter framing materials, this boat could be built to 75-80 Lbs instead of 90-100.
Plus your wife would love it because its so safe!

Paul F
02-13-2001, 10:24 PM
My $.02 Bolgers "Crab Skiff" aka. "Surf" Quick and easy to build. Looks pretty good. Large enough to safely/comfortably accomidate your family. Sails and rows very good. Inexpensive to own/maintain. Light weight (aprox. 150 lbs.)http://www.instantboats.com/surf.htm


ken mcclure
02-23-2001, 06:23 AM
Take a look at John Gardners plans in "The Dory Book" and "Building Classic Small Craft". He shows what he calls a "semi-dory" that I've been looking at for awhile. The 12-footer may fit the bill for cartopping, or the longer ones will trailer at a weight easily handled by any car or van.
What I liked about them is the ability to row, rig for sail, and hang a small outboard.

02-23-2001, 06:34 PM
A family like yours built a Wine Glass Wherry from a kit by Pygmy Boat Co. and travelled extensively in it. See the website for pictures: http://www.pygmyboats.com , I think.

Tom Beecroft
02-23-2001, 10:59 PM

With kids that age and a wife that may or may not be interested, you need to figure on launching and retrieving by yourself. I've seen a system of rollers for getting a small boat on and off the top of a car, but barring that it is really difficult to get even a small boat on and off the roof rack by yourself, even if it's light enough for you to lift over your head.

I built an 11' skiff (bateau Semi Dory 11) which I carry upside down on a box trailer. Even with this, SWMBO did not enjoy lifting her side off the trailer, and my 11 yr old son (who has the same size feet as me and is nearly as tall) balks at the launch and retrieve. Result - the boat spends most of the time propped up against the shed in the back yard. OK, my version is heavier than the plans call for, but still only about 100 lbs. [As an aside, I looked for a boat trailer to put it on, but the trailer I found came with a 20+ yr old sailing dinghy which turned into my next project. Funny how these things work out http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif ]

Add my vote to the slightly larger boat (maybe bateau's Caravelle) on a trailer. Construction time would not be much different (days longer, perhaps) and material costs would be negligibly more. Launch and retrieve on your own while wife and kids look for seashells, and they're all much more likely to want to go out again and again.

Tom Beecroft
02-23-2001, 11:03 PM
I just realized your posting was from October. What did you build?