Hi all. I’m in the planning phase of my first homemade boat project and I was hoping to collect some free advice and/or opinions from any experts out there who in interested in commenting.
I want an open launch somewhere between 18’ and 20’ long with a beam of about 6 feet that can carry 5 or 6 passengers (adults and kids), and can run quietly and efficiently at 7 to 10 knots with a 15 to 20HP outboard. I will primarily be cruising and fishing Lake Washington and Puget Sound and the locks and ship canal between them in Seattle, WA. I favor a flat bottom as they are simpler to both design and build, and they are more stable and carry more weight for a given size. I won’t be out in exposed waters and the low speed and protected waters should make pounding a non-issue. I like an exposed motor well – it provides for a more traditional look without an outboard hanging of the stern, it moves the weight of the outboard farther forward, and allows for better access to the motor. I plan on saturating the surfaces with epoxy and following with marine paint but I’d like to have some brightwork in easily refinished areas like the removable floor boards, the combing, and the fore-deck.
I started by looking at some boats that are available in plan form. I like the looks of the Carolina Dories like the Sweet Caroline from www.glenl.com, and Carolina Dory Skiff from www.sandypointboatworks.com. I also like some cabin skiffs like the Skiff America 20 (www.skiffamerica20.com) and the Redwing 18 (www.cmdboats.com), but the cabins are an integral part of the structure so they would require lot of rework. I also like some of the V-hull boats like the Simmons Sea Skiff (www.simmonsseaskiff.com), and the Bartender (www.bartenderboats.com) but I’m afraid they might be a bit complicated for my first effort.
I decided to try my hand at designing my own. I’m an industrial designer with about 25 years of CAD experience (www.eikedesign.com). I’ve never designed a boat but I’m of Norwegian descent so I figure there’s a genetic component that should help J. Anyway, I kind of stole the best of all these boats and came up with the design shown below. I built a quick stitch and glue prototype out of 3/16” hardboard complete with flotation chambers and it floated very near the projected waterline with the designed loading (note water filled zip-lock bags). It is completely unsinkable and pushing it underwater simply causes the boat to pop back up to the top of the motor well. I have not done any tow tests yet but for now I’m happy with the results of the float tests.
At this point, I’m on the fence between designing my own boat and buying plans. I like the idea of being able to say that I designed and built a boat all by myself and non of the plans are exactly what I want, but I’m worried about possible performance issues of an untried design. I’m putting the call out for opinions regarding my current design and if the response from experts is generally favorable, I’ll probably continue my efforts. If not, I’ll revert to a tried and true design like the Seaskiff and be content with doing a custom interior. Please be brutally honest but kind. J Thanks.
I can’t seem to get the upload to work so hopefully these links will work.