Excerpted from Messing Around In
by Mississippi Bob Brown
(click here for more information about MAIB)
I am a boat owner and have been
for years, in the last 30 years I have owned around 70 boats of
varying types. So why does a boat owner like me choose to ride
on Other Peoples Boats? I rather like being the skipper, but in
recent years I have made several delivery trips for different
skippers and rather enjoyed that also. Why do I mess about on
OPBs you may well ask?
Most of my boats are very small
and rather slow, it's hard to go very far in any of them. Yet
I have made some serious trips in my canoes, some over 200 miles,
but I am finding my canoes rather slow and limiting as to how
far I want to go in a given time. When I'm a crewman for someone
on a large cruising boat we really go somewhere, like 1000 miles
at a time.
There are times that I think I'd
like to own a large cruising boat, either sail or powered, but
I get back to reality quickly. I have worked at several boatyards
over the years and see very well what it costs to own a large
boat. I could buy a large boat if I really felt that I wanted
one that badly. I could mortgage the house or cash in my 401 k.
But I have never yet owned a boat that cost so much that it hurt
my family's budget, and I don't intend to start now.
I've begun again to ask myself
what I would really like to have in a boat, a question I've been
asking myself over the years, but the answer changes over time.
I don't want to be caught paying slip fees for any boat that I
own, so it must go home on a trailer. I own a nearly new Ford
Ranger truck that has a hitch on both ends. This truck has a vanity
plate that reads "Boater." This will be the tow vehicle
until the year 2010, so the boat and trailer shouldn't weigh more
than a half ton. I'm happy with my Ranger and don't need to start
buying fuel for a larger truck or an SUV.
I have been cruising around below
hull speed long enough. I want a boat that can escape its own
waves. I'm not a speed demon, but 15mph would surely be nice.
I want a boat that I can sleep in. I want a boat that I can sleep
and cook in at a highway rest stop when I'm halfway between home
and some far off destination. A friend of mine went thousands
of miles on the highway sleeping in a Bolger Micro. I'm planning
to do the same.
When I'm on a canoe trip I am always
planning my trips around having places to make camp. Let me be
perfectly clear, I'm not a camper. I love to go places in my boats
and sometimes this means sleeping on the riverbank in a tent.
I would rather sleep in a bed, but a bunk will do just fine.
I have been thinking about building
a cruiser for a long time. I have designed dozens of them in my
head, some even made it onto paper. Most had sailing rigs, but
the more I thought about it the more I knew that I needed to start
thinking about an engine.
Okay, if I am going to have an
engine, why have all the junk needed to make the boat sail? I
thought about it and realized that it was going to be a lot simpler
to design a motor boat.
As a canoe designer I hope that
I can use some of my experience building a light-weight motor
boat that can be driven with a small engine. A couple years ago
I made a half model of a small weekender. I looked at this model
from time to time thinking that it was really close to what I
wanted. The half model represented a 16' John boat with a low
cabin. Recently I decided to make a full model as a stitch-and-glue
boat. The more I worked with this model, the more I thought that
it was too chunky.
I started over with an 18' version.
This looked much better. I built the model one-sixth scale. This
size works out that I could use some 1-1/2-mil plywood so the
scantlings will be nearly the same as on the real boat. The model
looks good to me. That's another thing, I wanted a boat that looks
good. Like the bumper sticker says, "life is to short to
own an ugly boat." I am including a photo of the finished
model. You can make up your own mined about the looks. The model
at one-sixth scale seems to fit Ken and his friend quite well.
I'll bet that Barbie and Ken are one-sixth scale.
I have been doing some math and
come up with 16 sheets of 1/4" plywood at 25 Ibs. each and
probably five gallons of resin at 10 Ibs./gallon, plus an equal
weight of glass. The boat is getting heavy fast. By the time I
hang a small outboard on this boat that could add another 100
pounds I'm beginning to wonder if it will float? My plan is for
a flat bottom for the last two-thirds of the boat with multiple
skegs to help it run straight. I am hoping that I can get this
boat up on a plane with a 15hp motor.
I would like to start this boat
in the spring as soon as it's warm enough to work in my unheated
garage. This boat will not fit in my canoe shop so my new Ranger
will have to sit outside until the boat is on the trailer and
covered. I am interested if any of the readers have any experience
with a boat similar to what I've described. I would like to hear
opinions on this project.
Mississippi Bob Brown, 12936
Ave., Apple Valley, MN 55124