I met Mark Van Abbema several years ago when he was living on his boat " Heart of Gold II" on Ft Myers Beach Florida. I had always admired his design of this sharpie/houseboat. We became friends and I was aboard his boat several times and was struck by the openness and headroom of the design. Mark designed and built this boat, and brought it from Missouri to Florida several times. He lived on her quite comfortably for several years on a sandbar across from Bonita Bills Marina and bar. The tide would go out and there she sat on her flat bottom, high and dry where no other vessel could go. I loved it.
I built a hatch for one of his other designs which his Mom was living on at the beach for the summer, and I asked to be paid with a set of plans which I thought " some day" Ill build her.
Mark sold her, and went on to other things back home and I lost track of her,
That is until today.
I found her for sale on Craigslist, and in a very desperate state. She had been hauled ashore for a couple years and used as a sign to advertise a local business on the beach. Mark designed her to have no thru hulls to maintain watertight integrity. The owner drilled several holes through her forward anchor well and planted a palm tree in her.
She was being used as a planter.
I surveyed her today and bought her on the spot. She will be shipped across the bridge to my shop in a couple of weeks where I intend to do a full on restoration and live on her at Bonita Bill's.
You can see her story , construction and sister ship here on Mark's Site here: .http://markvdesigns.tripod.com/boatbuilding/
I will post the restoration of her fully as I go.
This is how i found her, in front of a bar.
Her anchor well being used as a planter