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Thread: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

  1. #1

    Default Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    So I know what we really want for cruising around mid-coast Maine:



    But I also know that it would be many years in the making, and the kids (and, for that matter, their parents) aren’t getting any younger.

    Of course, we could just buy a used plastic boat. But where is the romance in that? So my current idea is to build something now that would hold us over while I tackle the bigger, curvier project. And since the goal is for it to be done very quickly and not cost a fortune, I have been looking at flat-bottom skiffs like Old Wharf Dory’s Lumberyard Skiff and PAR’s Digger 17.



    So what say you about the wisdom of adapting these fishing/pot-hauling/work craft to a family-friendly/wildlife-watching/cruising-to-the-local-watering-hole/taking-picnics-out-to-neighboring-islands craft? The area is full of bays and rivers and coves, so there are a lot of places to go without venturing more than a mile or so from shore.

    Up till now we have been sailors and rowers, and so don’t have a lot of experience regarding fossil-fuel powered craft and excursions.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    i've only been using my flat bottom'd skiff for 25 years so i may not be the authority you are seeking, butt...

    i've run local rivers n creeks, cruised lakes all over north Texas, tow'd the grandson & his friends on surfboards in the Laguna Madre, bird watched up n down the ICW along the Texas gulf coast, fished in the bays & off shore out 10 miles+ & drug her to the Woodenboat Show in Southwest Harbor, Maine where we ran around the islands and back n forth from Some's Sound CG.

    i guess what i'm sayng is...

    GO FOR IT!

    sw

    ps. if you do build a LYS allow an extra 15-30 minutes for every fuel/meal stop, going & coming...

    i call it the "WBDF" (wooden boat delay factor)
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Honestly? Building curves should not be any more difficult and ,money spent on the "until then" boat could be used to build the one you really want.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    It always weirds me out when I see my face in a thread.

    The LYS goes together quickly, and has been our waterfront work truck for several years now. It's convenient to have as a second boat as well.

    It will do all the things you wish of it, as long as you have a weather eye and are smart about payload.

    Not sure what you seek as far as a specific answer, I feel like you're just airing out your thoughts and seeing what people have for reactions, rather than specific answers to a question.

    Hope that's helpful.

    E

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Tom Hill's Long Point Skiff fits right in with these others.

    http://www.thomasjhillboatdesigns.co...ong_point.html

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Building and using boats for me are two very different types of enjoyment, so I'm wondering if you have a preference. If it's taking your family out on the water or killing an afternoon on your own, I'd suggest whatever design you can build over the winter to launch next spring. A simple, safe skiff covered in porch paint and filled with happy kids gives up nothing to a half-finished Dream Boat.

    I'd throw CLC's Peeler skiff into the hat also if it's not too small.

    Best of luck with your decision,

    Mike

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    Tom Hill's Long Point Skiff fits right in with these others.

    http://www.thomasjhillboatdesigns.co...ong_point.html
    This skiff is straightforward to build and works really well, and it is a good boat to take the family out, and also to do a bit of fishing.

    Graeme

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    I would rather be afloat than not. Sure its nice to have a drop dead gorgeous boat, but there is also something immensely satisfying about having a good hard working honest boat that does all you could want. Not everyone needs or wants a "gold plater" , or can even spare the time and money to build one. Build it, use it, enjoy it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    The Lumberyard Skiff or any of the many other good skiffs will give great pleasure and service. I personally do not like a console plunked into a small boat. Just wasted space and clutter. Also the console can create hazards of its own with the boat charging off by herself if you manage to get tossed over.

    Safest is tiller on motor steering with a very strong throttle return spring so if you let go of the tiller the engine goes down to slow idle and that you actually use the kill cord now and then. If like me you like to stand and/or get your weight out of the very stern, use a tiller extension.

    You can load a flattie up with more horsepower than your IQ and go banging your kidneys out, but these boats really excel at displacement speeds with low HP big power props for efficient pohdunking about and plenty of bollard pull.

    G'luck

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    I built this Long Point Skiff over the winter a few years ago, so if you start now, you can be on the water next Spring:


  11. #11

    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spokaloo View Post

    Not sure what you seek as far as a specific answer, I feel like you're just airing out your thoughts and seeing what people have for reactions, rather than specific answers to a question.

    E
    Well, like I said, I donít know much about powerboat design. If the issue were sailboat hull shapes and rigs, I know that there would be plenty of considerations for and against the suitability of certain styles for certain purposes.

    The reason I ask in this case is because the designers all talk about these as boats for fishing or hauling stuff. And the pictures of the boats I have seen all have them set up for those tasks Ė e.g. no seating beyond a center-console seat, if that. So I am wondering whether there is a reason for the scarcity of skiffs used as family runabouts I should know about. If itís just aesthetics, there is no problem for me. But if has to do with functionality, Iíd like to know before committing.

    Sounds like the consensus so far seems to be that it could work out just fine.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    Tom Hill's Long Point Skiff fits right in with these others.

    http://www.thomasjhillboatdesigns.co...ong_point.html
    Thanks for bringing that up. I do like the lapstrake sides, and actually enjoy planking those up, so the extra time would be worth it for me.

    The one thing I hesitate about, though, is the beam. 5'2" vs. 6' for Digger and 6'6" for the LYS. I just wonder whether all four of us would be cramped in there.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wiegmann View Post
    I built this Long Point Skiff over the winter a few years ago, so if you start now, you can be on the water next Spring:

    That is an awfully good-looking "work skiff" Bill. Well done.

    It looks like you are using it in the same kind of waters I would be. Have you found it a good fit? Everyone talks about the pounding on these boats, although I imagine the extra thick bottom on yours might deaden some of the blows.
    Last edited by Christopher Morgan; 10-04-2016 at 11:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    You might also consider one of Pete Culler's outboards. Sharp file bottom bow but don't let that throw you as the construction is straightforward and you get an amazingly cost-effective stunningly beautiful and totally seaworthy boat.


  15. #15

    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike J View Post
    Building and using boats for me are two very different types of enjoyment, so I'm wondering if you have a preference. If it's taking your family out on the water or killing an afternoon on your own, I'd suggest whatever design you can build over the winter to launch next spring. A simple, safe skiff covered in porch paint and filled with happy kids gives up nothing to a half-finished Dream Boat.
    I do love building. But this time I am really looking to have a boat to tool around in pretty soon. And things are made even easier now that the place I will be in for the summer is near the water but has no room for a shop, so I don't have to choose -- being on the water will be the only option when it is warm.

    And keeping everyone happy is definitely part of the equation. My kids do love to sail. But they are less keen on being sailed. And with family outings, some are going to have to be passengers. If we can skoot around at something over 4 kts and extend our range, I think that we might get out on the water more.

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    You might also want to take a look at the many designs of Jeff Spira which are intended for quick and inexpensive builds: http://spirainternational.com/hp_wood_boats.html

    ie

    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Everyone talks about the pounding on these boats,
    Flat bottom boats will begin to pound sooner than v-bottoms. You'll need to slow down more running into a headsea to achieve comfort. You'll be faster than your sailboat at any rate, and currents will prove less of a challenge. So from where you are coming from you should be fine, as long as your expectations are realistic.


    Kevin

    Edited: Bear in mind, that even a V-bottom model at this size isn't going blazing into a stiff chop without rattling its occupants. Its all a matter of degree and, largely, seamanship.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    You might also consider one of Pete Culler's outboards. Sharp file bottom bow but don't let that throw you as the construction is straightforward and you get an amazingly cost-effective stunningly beautiful and totally seaworthy boat.

    That is quite a boat, Ian. Do you know the name of the design or any particulars?

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    I think you're headed in the right direction. Pick one of them flat-bottom girls and go to town.
    Last edited by David G; 10-04-2016 at 01:12 PM.
    David G
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Morgan View Post
    That is an awful good-looking "work skiff" Bill. Well done.

    It looks like you are using it in the same kind of waters I would be. Have you found it a good fit? Everyone talks about the pounding on these boats, although I imagine the extra thick bottom on yours might deaden some of the blows.
    Thanks. I use the boat on Northwest Harbor in Deer Isle and the upper reaches of Penobscot Bay. I use it as a tender for my other boats, take non-sailors out for boat rides, tow the little kids on tubes, set my moorings and marks and use it to cross the Bay when I put the big boat away for the winter or pick it up in the spring. It can handle 4 adults or 5 kids, occasionally more when just making the short hop out to my sailboat. Although it will pound a bit in a chop, it is pretty rugged. I once was out in the Bay when the wind blew up to 20 knots with 2-3 foot waves. It was necessary to slow right down, but I never felt unsafe. The bow is fairly high and gets blown about by high winds, so you have to aim carefully when moving at slow speeds, say when coming into the dock. A couple of tides a month my floats sit on the bottom, so I wanted a flat bottomed boat that could take the ground as well. I installed a couple of skegs on which it rests upright. I am very happy with the boat.

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    The LYS and similar boats look very useful and simple to build. However, I recently saw mention of the Simmons Sea Skiff and read what I could find quickly on it. It seems it might be almost as easy to build as the flat bottom boats and would handle wind and waves somewhat better. The 18 footer with a 25-30 HP motor looks like it would be a good alternative as a family runabout.

    Can anyone offer an educated comparison of building the Simmons versus any of the boats already mentioned in this thread?

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    The Lumberyard Skiff or any of the many other good skiffs will give great pleasure and service. I personally do not like a console plunked into a small boat. Just wasted space and clutter. Also the console can create hazards of its own with the boat charging off by herself if you manage to get tossed over.

    Safest is tiller on motor steering with a very strong throttle return spring so if you let go of the tiller the engine goes down to slow idle and that you actually use the kill cord now and then. If like me you like to stand and/or get your weight out of the very stern, use a tiller extension.

    You can load a flattie up with more horsepower than your IQ and go banging your kidneys out, but these boats really excel at displacement speeds with low HP big power props for efficient pohdunking about and plenty of bollard pull.

    G'luck
    Good advice! Built-in buoyancy is also a great safety feature.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Quote Originally Posted by ulav8r View Post
    The LYS and similar boats look very useful and simple to build. However, I recently saw mention of the Simmons Sea Skiff and read what I could find quickly on it. It seems it might be almost as easy to build as the flat bottom boats and would handle wind and waves somewhat better. The 18 footer with a 25-30 HP motor looks like it would be a good alternative as a family runabout.

    Can anyone offer an educated comparison of building the Simmons versus any of the boats already mentioned in this thread?
    Good question. The same might be asked about Hylan's garveys, which also have some shape to their bottoms.

    Spokaloo reports something like 30 hours to build his LYS. I'd guess it would take me at least 400-500 hours to build a pointer that aspires to (but falls short of) the one at the start of this thread. So there is a big range we are talking about here.

    Part of the difficulty is separating out the time needed for a more complex shape from the time needed for a fancier finish, since the two often go together.

    So let's put the limit at 100 hours, for a not-so-fast builder, working in short blocks of 3-ish hours spread out over a couple of months. Is there an efficient design with a more shapely bottom that could be ready for the water in workboat finish in about that amount of time that would significantly improve on the Brockaway-style skiffs?
    Last edited by Christopher Morgan; 10-04-2016 at 10:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    The next step up in sophistication would be one of the Spira v-bottom dories. Or maybe the Hylan v'd garveys.

    They would be a bit more time, but not a ton more time.

    I can't think offhand of what a next 'small' increment might be. I think beyond those two levels it gets steeper pretty quickly.
    David G
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Christopher, I don't think I'm wrong in saying plywood vee bottom is not going to take much longer then flat with frames, chines and all that traditional build "stuff" (scantlings) And if you get plans for S & G design, (stitch and glue) It could be a faster build! these boats I just pulled out randomly from WB

    https://www.woodenboat.com/boat-plans-kits/21-pretty-marsh-runabout


    http://www.woodenboat.com/boat-plans...int-comfort-23
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Flat bottoms are good for beaching and cheap boats are good for beaching on rocky shores. I would love to build something like a lumberyard skiff if I had a place to store a trailer, but I live in a flat so all my day boats have to be car topped. I think it's really important not to make the same mistake that I often do, which is to end up spending lots of money and time on extra glass sheathing, structural reinforcement and marine grade fastenings and fittings, on a boat which was meant to be quick and low cost in the building, and which won't be stored on the water. I would build it real quick and dirty, glass the bottom only, slap on some house paint, forget forward controls, and get a feel for the capability of a power dory before committing to building the dream boat. Lets face it - as soon as the dream boat is finished, or probably even before it's finished, the mind will be dreaming up the next one, stealing focus away from the present one, and from precious life in general. I hope you share your build with us and happy dreaming! Cheers, alex

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    Lots of spitballing here.

    Bear in mind to build the LYS, I spent no time building a jig of any kind. This is a key component for how minimal the build hours are. It goes together as fast as any boat I've put hands on, rivaling a canoe.

    It never pounds at 12kts. Spray rails probably wouldn't be a terrible idea.

    I've looked extensively at the various builds of Simmons boats. You won't build one as fast as the LYS. I'd have a hard time building one within your 100 hour window, just due to parts count.

    Currently in the shop I'm on the fence about what to build next. Going to replace the LYS with something a little leaner, a little longer, and a little more west coast. I will be building using a similar method to the LYS, but instead of a 'one mold' boat, it'll have several frames. Pick up Drift Boats and River Dories to see how they have been built on my home state since the 1950's.

    E

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    What opinion does the collective mind have on the Peeler?
    ps just ordered the plans for the peeler skiff....
    Last edited by Oldad; 02-13-2018 at 01:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    March, April, May, weekends and evenings; how about buy a used knockabout something-or-other for this summer and build your dream boat in your spare time (of course you wont have any spare time because it will be used up boating), but there's next winter to build the boat starting in November. Then you can take your time, not feel pressured and do a knock-out job.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    As someone who has built both the LYS and the Ocean Pointer, I'd say you're right on track. The Ocean Pointer build won't be ready for you to use this year and maybe not next either. The LYS can be ready to launch this spring if you wish.

    The LYS has the benefit of being easily adaptable to whatever layout you want (center console, extra seats, no seats, bow storage, bimini top...) it's basically a blank canvas. The plans are also easy to follow, the boat comes together very quickly and you could modify the size easily too. I stretched mine to 18 feet and found it perfect for me. She's wicked stable, which is a huge benefit with kids running all around. Downside is that it's flat, so it pounds depending on your cruising ground and the typical seas you'll encounter.

    Other LYS recommendations: Add spray rails to the hull, preferably full-length to knock down spray. Build the optional side decks; they give you a place to mount all kinds of stuff (cleats, rod holders, cup holders, canvas top hardware) and they stiffen the hull incredibly. Also cut the chines so that the top edges are beveled to allow water to run off of them and not sit stagnant on the tops.

    I would say build the LYS now and get it in the water and have fun with it and in your spare time, start making the building jig for the OP and have that be your main project to enjoy 'someday'. If you don't already own an outboard, consider buying one that can be swapped from the LYS to the OP someday.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    The original post is eighteen months old.
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

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    Default Re: Flat-bottom workboat as a family runabout?

    How about that, and apparently he didn't build a boat. But there are much older active threads everyday. Checking the date of each post is some what of a pain.

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