I am in the process of building the 25' Hooper Island Draketail as shown in Sucher's "Simplified Boatbuilding, The V Bottom Boats". My approach and resources are as follow:
My interest in boats comes from growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for a while as a kid. During that time (1958-1964) I was taken fishing by various folks in everything from home-made skiffs with 5 hp Briggs and Stratton motors to 40 ft flat bottom deadrise bay work boats. Later visits to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum reinforced the interest in bay boats, while also introducing me to the 45 ft draketail, “Martha.” Something about the grace and efficiency of the draketail shape captured my imagination and stuck with me.
I also have a son who is a trained a machinist, who came to that training through small engine repair and a fascination with old, one lunger engines. So, a wooden boat with an old marine engine seemed like an appropriate project for both of us. I’m a fairly useful woodworker, my son can fabricate just about anything in metal, and if it burns hydrocarbons, he can make it run.
All of which is leads in to my desire to build a 25 ft draketail with an old marine engine. The boat is more a woodworking project for enjoyment than a screaming rush to finish a boat. Full epoxy construction doesn’t hold a lot of fascination for me. Traditional woodworking does. To that end, I’d like to stay with traditional methods as much as possible, while acknowledging that the boat will be used infrequently (we live in the mountains of Virginia). Right now, my thoughts are heart pine planking, with splines in the bottom cross planks.
We have what appears to be a 1940’s era Navy launch engine for use in the boat. The engine is a 2 cylinder “Michigan Senior Twin” converted by the Michigan Marine Motor Company of Coldwater, Michigan. The basic motor before conversion is a Hercules NXB industrial engine. I have gotten a manual from Hercules. Power output appears to be about 12 hp at 1,500 RPM. My son has gotten the motor running and it seems to be in fine shape. The attached marine transmission is direct drive (1:1) with reverse. Weight is about 375lb. The engine is presently set up for raw water cooling, which I plan to change to a closed system with a keel cooler, using raw water to cool the exhaust.
As a general philosophy, this boat is to be a recreation of a 1920’s era Chesapeake Bay work boat; a water going pick-up truck. That would mean painted exterior, turpentine and pine tar interior, little or no bright work, and a minimum of varnish. This is much the same approach I take to old woodworking tools. They are tools to be kept in good condition and used, not museum pieces to be preserved in a glass box.
In lurking around this forum, I have seen mention of the 25 ft draketail in several threads. Has anybody gotten one on the water? I'd like to hear of your experience. All comments, ideas, guidance , and warnings gratefully accepted.