I've polished the Tentboat concept a little more and thought
you might like to share it with your readers. It is shown finished
bright - I may come to my senses and go with epoxy paint, but
for now the desire to see that much varnish on the water is
strong! Originally a simple plywood barge with a Coleman tent,
the idea has evolved to cypress strips over ash frames with
a custom tent canopy. The strips will be 1" wide (1/2"
thick) which will allow them to be glued and nailed - eliminating
(in theory) the need for a very expensive fiberglass overlay.
Even with the custom made tent canopy this version will actually
cost less to build than the plywood/Coleman tent version! If
you haven't tried it, I'm sure you will find strip building
is a very pleasant way to spend an evening.
Tentboat will carry a 16' (folded
to 8') skiff on her front deck. This will allow fishing, boat
rides, etc, while Tentboat is safely anchored in a quiet cove
or river bend. The skiff (yet to be named) will be made of 3/8"x1"
cypress strips. Due to the likely-hood of rougher treatment,
the skiff will be clad in a couple layers of 8 oz fiberglass
and also have several ash strips (strakes) incorporated into
the bottom planks. I want to beach her with no worries.
Power for Tentboat will be a
40hp Johnson outboard. An 18hp would work for lakes; 25hp for
rivers, but I have the 40 waiting on an engine stand, so I'll
use it. An old slow running inboard two cylinder to push her
to hull speed would be great as well, but the logistics of that
is more than I want to deal with right now. The skiff will be
powered by a 9.9 - 15hp depending on the area it will be used
(a 15 is nice on a flowing rivers, it can get you out of a "situation").
The project will start very
soon with the skiff. In fact the cypress and ash were delivered
last week, hull design sketches are all over the house, and
as soon as I can get Matt's
canoe out the door I'll start milling the strips.
Soon I'll be traveling to Louisiana to talk with a sawmill owner
about the cypress for Tentboat (no more off the shelf stuff)
and expect construction to begin on Tentboat this fall. Reckon
she'll take about a year to complete.
And then...It was a warm sunny afternoon. A cool breeze was
blowing lightly across the crystal clear water, gently rocking
Tentboat as she floated passively in the current. Looking up
at a pair of Bald Eagles flying nearby, I stretched and stifled
a yawn, I had a difficult decision before me, take the skiff
out for some late afternoon trout fishing, or settle back into
the deck lounger and enjoy the beautiful sunset.