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Thread: Source for Houseboat Plans

  1. #1
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    Default Source for Houseboat Plans

    I am thinking about building a houseboat. Boat would be a sheltered water canal boat, the Rideau Canal specifically, so it doesn't really need much in the way of sea going capabilities. Only require displacement speeds. Daily runs generally 15 miles or less.

    The only wooden boat I have completed so far is a PDracer, but I found that pretty straightforward, and I am sure I could handle similar but bigger. The boat would be used as our cottage on the water. We have been using our Bay Hen for that purpose, but now with two kids, it just doesnt work any more and a bigger sailboat wont clear the bridges (22').

    So I though home built plywood houseboat might work. Maybe barge style (similar to PDracer but bigger) with a ply cabin. It would be nice if it was trailerable which in my context means less than 8' beam and under 2000 pounds.

    By my rough calculations, even a 16x8 barge should have a payload of around 3000 pounds, so I am thinking this boat doesnt need to be very big. 16-20 feet, that will make propulsion more affordable too.

    Can any one recomend a plan or resource for plans for small barge hull plywood houseboats?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    Yes, thats the sort of thing I had in mind. "Shanty Boat" has been a good search term.

    It also lead me to this Glen L Waterlodge. Looks straightforward enough. Seems kind of heavy but I am guessing you have a fair bit of control over the weight with finishing options.

    https://www.glen-l.com/designs/hanki...aterlodge.html

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

    15' Welsford Navigator Inconceivable
    16' W. Simmons Mattinicus double ender ​Matty

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    Harry Bryan's is lovely.


    Sam Devlin has a plywood version that looks easy to build.



    William Atkin also has one that will fuel many daydreams, Retreat.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    Tad Roberts has this offering. It doesn't look like a shanty boat at all, but that's essentially what it is. If the kids were happy sleeping in the cockpit, the family would fit as shown here.




    Or there's this layout:

    -Dave

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    I am open minded about design, doesn't need to be a Shanty boat, haven't actually heard the term before today.

    We are hoping to avoid sleeping in the cockpit. Actually, we already have that option with our Bay Hen, which has a camper top for the cockpit. Kids are small; 4 and less than 1. We have a few reasons for wanting to sleep inside the boat. One is we do quite a bit of lock station cruising, in the bigger towns and cities there are sometimes the odd creep hanging around and on the other end of the spectrum we do a bit of beaching/camping in areas with wildlife. It would also be nice if we can use the boat on it's trailer as kind of a camper while we are touring around.

    While I was browsing designs, I happened across the Michalak Jewel Box. The Bird Watcher arrangement wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I wonder if it would be big enough to sleep 4. I kind of like the fact a rig can be added to the boat and bridge clearance even mast up is less than the 22' clearance we require around these parts.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    What was Peter Lenihan's Turtle Bay?
    Steve Martinsen

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    Here are a few more links I found by using the term googling Shanty boats in case any one has comments. I notice the 16 footers are all laid out for couples, but I wonder if I could tackle that issue by rearranging interior so that a single bed runs down either side with fold down bunks for the kids above the singles. Should be stable enough still when beached/docked I am guessing.This Lisa B Good is kind of a cute boat. Not sure why the aft deck is so big. Can't see hanging out back there with a noisy old outboard: http://65.110.86.132/plans/browne/lisa-b-good/index.htm

    This retreat is handy at 18 feet with an 11 foot cabin. That works out to 88 sq feet of interior living space. http://www.atkinboatplans.com/Misc/Retreat.html

    Found this aquacasa 16. Looks practical: http://www.berkeley-engineering.com/...Houseboat.html

    My wife found this design, Diannes Boat. She likes it, whichI consider to be a big plus. https://www.diy-wood-boat.com/dianne...-x-8-beam.html

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    You might have a look at Dianne’s Rose, see http://www.roydesignedthat.com/. Maybe a bit small, but it’s an interesting approach.

    Matt

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    Oops, see you found it already!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    Can't see hanging out back there with a noisy old outboard: http://65.110.86.132/plans/browne/lisa-b-good/index.htm
    At the speeds you are talking about, a new outboard is basically silent. Plus, you'd habng there at night once reaching your destination, and in the morning before heading out the next day.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    More a boat than houseboat, but 15 mile runs would be easy. This Gartside Shanty Boat is under 8ft beam. Doesn't give displacement, but must be under a ton. 10hp outboard. You might need to re jig it for a 4 berth though - possibly extend the cabin back a station or two. Plans were in a past Watercraft. Hull shape and construction you will be familiar with - it's built the same as a PDR - carry it on a pair of davits?




    https://store.gartsideboats.com/coll...oat-design-234
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 01-11-2019 at 09:16 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    Fitting a growing family into something under 20 feet is going to prove very difficult. Stretch it a few feet and I think it can be a success. Phil Thiel has a line of mini houseboats that seem to have a real fanbase.

    Here's the FriendShip, which I admire quite a bit. Just 22' and very livable.

    -Dave

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    More trailer friendly is Thiel's Joli Boat. Not so tall, but still has berths for everyone.



    -Dave

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    One of the 20' Shanty's afloat.

    IMG_1011.jpg
    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    A couple of these are really good looking boats. I was kind of imagining a box on the water, but it looks like there are some pretty nice alternatives, like the one above and the Gartside boat looks really neat too. They look like little mini trawlers.

    I emailed the Diannes Rose designer and he recomended expanding the available bunk space using canvas hammock type bunks for the kids. Sounds like an easy and practical solution for nearly any design.

    I am not overly concerned about length, my specific dimensions of concern have to do with trailering. I have no desire to pay for a slip for this (or any other) boat. Where I live (1/2 mile from a boat launch on the Rideau Canal) 8.5 feet or less trailering width makes things easier. My tow vehicle, which I wont be replacing is a V6 Grand Caravan, so I figure 2000 lbs for the boat leaves me 1500 lbs or trailer and gear before I hit the vehicles tow limit of 3500 lbs.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    "1/2 mile from a boat launch on the Rideau Canal"
    "My tow vehicle, which I wont be replacing is a V6 Grand Caravan, so I figure 2000 lbs for the boat leaves me 1500 lbs or trailer and gear before I hit the vehicles tow limit of 3500 lbs."

    That 3500 lb tow rating is very conservative - you have to respect it from a legal standpoint but if your tow is only 1/2 mile it could be safely exceeded - If you are comfortable with that sort of rule bending...Moe

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    I am noticing an interesting difference in the design of some of the boats and I was wondering if any one had any comments. Some of the boats seem to use the hull as the interior floor/bilge, such as the Phil Thiel L'Ark, which is about the smallest boat I can find with 4 designed bunks. http://www.mission-base.com/sea-land...rk_layout.html

    Some of the boats, like Diannes Rose use an artificial partially raised deck for the interior floor/deck. Others still use a flush weatherdeck through out.

    The sailor in me wants to keep the weight as low as possible and avoid the weight of additional framing. So using the hull/bilge as the interior floor makes sense to me.

    I guess I understand the advantage of using a continuous weather deck in that it should theoretically keep the waves out of the hull and might be compartmentalised. But at the same time I could see a minor leak going unoticed, rot etc, along with the disadvantages that come with a higher centre of gravity and more windage?

    I am guessing the partially raised deck/floor is mostly about finish/having a flat floor to walk on?

    I am inclined to like the boats that use the bilge as the interior floor for the sake of lower centre of gravity, less weight and simplicity, but I am wondering if there are advantages to the raised or partially raised deck designs I am overlooking?
    Last edited by Arcb; 01-11-2019 at 06:23 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    I don't think so. The sole will be cold in cold water if there's nothing on it, and it is harder to fit batteries, tanks, water lines, foam flotation etc. when the bottom is the sole. But the good side is standing headroom in a boat that doesn't sit so high on the trailer and, as you point out, a simpler build for a lighter boat. And a bit less windage, too. These types of craft really get pushed around in a breeze.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    It might be pushing the weight limit a bit but Jay Benfords false Creek/Friday Harbour ferry fits the dimensions you want and has a good designed interior:

    http://benford.us/lists.html

    Click on the PDF link next to the name for a data sheet and sketches.

    Benford designs some nice boats.

    How often do you plan to launch her? If it is a case of "in the water at the beginning of the season, out for the winter back home to work on her" then the costs of hiring someone to move her 1/2 mile would not be exorbitant and therefore not a factor in your choice of vessels.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    I envision launching her frequently. Maybe every other week end. We launch our current 21 ft sailboat about twice a month. I imagine similar usage, just need a bigger boat due to having a second kid.

    Also do significant trailering with current boat; Florida, Nova Scotia from Ontario. Would be nice if we could do similar with the Shanty Boat. Crossing the mountains through Pennsylvania in the winter can be nerve wracking even with a small boat.

    However, I understand the needs to manage my expectations. A bigger boat won't trailer as welll as a little Sharpie, still dont want to be limited to local boat launch though.

    Really liking the looks of Thiel Escargot/L'Ark. 750 pounds with more than double the interior volume of current boat.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    If towing with a van the height of the houseboat may not be as big of an issue as you think -- but weight certainly will. It will also get blown around a bit more by wind and trucks slipstreams. I would't limit the comfort of a heavily-used houseboat due to concerns over a few mpg when towing. Since many of these houseboats don't have a lot of deck space where you can stand, some standing room inside is important, particularly in bad weather.

    It sure seems that Thiel's Friendship might work well for your needs, and as he said you could replace the helm shelter with a folding bimini if height is an issue.


    Last edited by Thorne; 01-12-2019 at 11:13 AM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    One of the 20' Shanty's afloat.

    IMG_1011.jpg
    Okay, that is DOPE! It looks like a commuter/bathtub toy. And I mean that in the very best way! Typical houseboat around here is a ghastly aluminum pontoon type with some crap shack atop.

    This little baby would be a TREAT up the Delta somewhere.

    Peace,
    Robert

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Source for Houseboat Plans

    I read an article that said the Thiel Escargot was originally designed to be propelled by a peddle drive. Its only 750 pounds. I could sort of see that working, slowly. I wonder if a Hobie Mirage drive or a Yuloh oar would work? Even if you used the outboard 2/3rds of the time, the idea of having a plan b for when your outboard gets cantakerous is really appealing.

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