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Thread: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

  1. #1
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    Default Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    Considering the huge storm and water in urban Houston - what folding canvas boat plans are out there. Having stackable light weight canvas/fabric skinned boats for deployment might be an interesting scout building project or even an eagle project for my son to consider.

    Thanks!

    Ted
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    I built the Wooden Widgets "Fliptail 7" as a tender that can stow below on my 19' sloop. "Foal" is a great boat; I like her better every time I use her. Really fun to build, too. I could easily see a Fliptail build being a good student build.

    Wooden Widgets also makes an 8' and a 9' version.

    My build thread is here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...g-Dinghy-Build

    Alex

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    She is a fine example. Thank you for sharing Alex.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    For starters, she folds up into a wonderfully compact, tidy package:



    For scale, those are 6' oars. I had assumed I'd need to remove her rowlocks for stowage and transport, hence the chain-and-toggle lanyards, but it turns out they just drop into a fold of the fabric and are perfectly secure. A becket of line through the handles of the floorboards keeps them folded (the instructions call for a velcro tab, which I may eventually do), and hitches of painter and sternline confine the hoops. I haven't yet put her on the scale, but I'd guess she's *maybe* 50#? Very portable, anyway. It isn't misplaced optimism that the carry handle through the floorboards is for one hand.








    There's a limit to what you can do with a 7' boat, but my attempts at a concave sheer turned out pretty well, I think.



    I had planned to build a little box as a rowing bench, but it turns out a Type IV PFD throw cushion works perfectly. The designer apparently braces his feet against the outboard ends of the floorboard supports. (See post #4 for details.) I'm 5' 8", and with my legs extended I comfortably brace my feet against the aft face of the

    She fit just fine, and she's light enough that stowing her and retrieving her was no problem at all. As a test, I stowed her, then brought her on deck, rested her athwart Bucephalus's cockpit coaming (a couple lengths of foam pipe insulator protected B's brightwork), unfolded her, launched her, recovered her, re-folded her, and stowed her again, all without stepping out onto the dock, as if I had been at anchor. No problems! I discovered that launching her sideways is better, since bow- or stern-first means I need to be careful about getting water through the fabric cut-outs, and recovering her gracefully will take a bit of practice, but she's very manageable.


    So for anyone thinking of a folding dinghy, I don't have a lot of experience with Foal yet, but so far I can happily recommend a Fliptail 7.
    Alex
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    A fascinating boat. Thanks
    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.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    This is Foal "in action", as I unfold her aboard Bucephalus, at anchor. A couple sections of foam pipe-insulator protect B's varnished caprail. In this instance, Foal's bow is suspended below the boom to give me room to move around...:



    ...but it works just as well to fold or unfold her with her simply resting amidships:



    She's so light I don't need to hook a halyard to her to launch her or bring her aboard. To launch her, I just grab her by her rail amidships and swing her over the side, so she touches the water parallel to B. To bring her aboard, I put a piece of the pipe-insulator padding on B's toerail, bring Foal's bow up onto deck, swing Foal more toward parallel with B, and once I can get hold of Foal's rail amidships, it's easy to just swing her up and into place athwartships. I haven't had to do it in any serious wind, so maybe then I'd use Bucephalus's boom / peak halyard as a davit.

    Anyway, she's a great little boat. I'm looking forward to building the sailing rig for her this winter. Apparently it just uses a cut-down Opti sail and modified Opti spars (and a leeboard and rudder), but I may see what I can do to build a proper standing lug rig instead.

    Alex

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    That fliptail is a seriously cool little boat and in my head the wheels are already turning on how to redesign it.

    I'm also developing a method to create a "temporary boat" for prototyping plywood boats in the 15X4' range. These boats are not meant for regular assembly/disassembly but if all the parts are pre-made I hope that it could be put together in about an hour and would last at least a season. It would involve four pre-painted plywood panels zip-tied together, then screwed to rigid frames, with all the seams duct taped both on the outside and inside. The curvature of the panels (combo of simple and conic bending) and the solid frames would result in relatively little strain put on the seams. Canoe airbags and inflatable beach rollers inside would ensure safety. Basically a life raft held together in a boat shape by some thin (4-5 mm) plywood panels. A spaced/scuppered gunwale system and perhaps a couple of thwarts near the ends at gunwale height could then be screwed on for extra rigidity. All parts will fit into an 8'x3'x6" package if I can work out a system to assemble the gunwales from smaller pieces. Maybe pre-laminating the curvature like for the fliptail would be an idea. I just started cutting the panels and don't have any pictures yet, but there will be a build thread soon.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    I'm not sure the duct tape will hold immersed. Gorilla tape may be better, and could hold if you dry sail her.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    gorilla tape is what I meant; I have used it on my signboard prototype boat and after two summers outside and being dragged through the sand it is still holding up pretty well. It would tend to get soft though in hot climates and if you take it off after months it leaves a residue behind.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    I will watch for that build thread.
    I have toyed with the idea of building a temporary boat on vacation, and giving it away when I go home.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    There are many variants of an old popular mechanics folding kayak plan floating around. It has been adopted for scout building projects, the original article here, and another set of similar instructions.

    Along similar lines is a design from Ken Simpson, the Fold-up kayak, which is even simpler and uses duct tape on the folds.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdem View Post
    There are many variants of an old popular mechanics folding kayak plan floating around. It has been adopted for scout building projects, the original article here, and another set of similar instructions.

    Along similar lines is a design from Ken Simpson, the Fold-up kayak, which is even simpler and uses duct tape on the folds.
    Ken also has Coroplast boats which though not to everyone's taste would make an excellent emergency boat that must be the lowest possible cost boat I can think off. I fully appreciate the nature of any flood would determine how suitable such carft would be. I the surge type floods we get going out in anything other than a RIB with full survival gear would just add to the emergency services workload.

    I love the one sheet boat that just has the corners folded in without any cuts.

    https://youtu.be/5l-SoHOFw_c

    https://youtu.be/l86BEf8DbXI

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Any light weight/folding canvas boat plans?

    A single sheet coroplast boat would be a bathtub toy.

    My first prototype boat is actually made from 2 coroplast sheets end to end, with both of them folded in at the bow and the middle joined with a double bulkhead frame like a nesting dinghy (but not meant to be taken apart). It is 14" long and 3' wide and pretty tippy, and I wouldn't want another person in it with me. The middle part of the boat needed to be reinforced with plywood because the whole thing was pretty floppy.

    I think there are some types of foam out there that could have potential to quickly build a boat. But really, why not a cheap inflatable, that would take the least amount of storage space. But I'm biased, when I was a child my family owned an inflatable boat manufacturing plant.

    I'm also bouncing ideas around in my head about an SOF boat with a removable frame based on geodesic dome tent principles. So many ideas, not enough time to try them all out until I retire.

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