Tom Thumb  
by Harold Duffield - Florissant, Missouri - USA

Tom Thumb - A Minimum Cruising Houseboat

The Tom-Thumb Cruising Houseboat is surprisingly simple to build. It is made on the basic 16 ft platform and is all aluminum. The boat is designed to be pulled to far off places for exciting adventures. The boat deck house and roof lowers for long distance transport, and for storage in a standard garage bay, It should take less than 10 – 15 minutes to raise the pilot house and the roof structure. These structures can be left in the upright position for short distance hauling.

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The recommended motor would be a 10-15 hp which should give a displacement hull speed of around 5-6 knots. However, up to 45 hp could be used for those want to go fast. The Hulls on the Uglyboat platform are flat on the bottom and will plane like a tunnel hull boat.

It’s about as small as you can go with a micro cruising boat if you want Mamma to share your adventure. The boat and trailer should weigh less than 1000 lbs. and can be pulled by just about any vehicle.

It has a head with shower, which is a necessity for any cruise lasting more than one day. The standard Uglyboat Comfort Station can be installed either inside or outside the pilot house.

I have designed the boat with a fully covered aluminum roof for shade both front and back. You could easily make snap on screens to enclose the back deck area if you want to sit out in the evening. The pilot house is intentionally small to allow lots of front and back deck space. The back deck is 6ft x 7ft with 36” seats on the sides. You can carry your grill with space to sit and eat. With the front and back windows and doors removed, you will have an airy little cruiser that will be tons of fun. When those 3 gallon per mile giants pass you by, wave heartily and smile. Small is the future in cruising boats.

click image above for larger view

Steps to lower pilot house and roof:

1. Fold the window frames inward to rest on the pilot house front and back cross frames.
2. Lift the front of the roof to release the forward cross frame and lower the forward frame.
3. Lower the front of the roof and secure into the roof holding bracket on the front cross frame.
4. With the roof attached in the front, raise the back of the roof and lower the back cross frame.
5. Lower the back of the roof and secure the roof into the holding bracket on the back cross frame.

The Uglyboat comfort station is designed to be installed on pontoons or deck boats. It takes the footprint of a standard 36” seat. The comfort station can include a fresh water shower with a holding tank where required. However, a simple lake water rinse off shower can be installed without the holding tank. For current pontoon or deck boat owners, you will need to take out a 36” seat and install the comfort station. The comfort station is sold as a kit that comes partial or complete. Price is determined by level of completion.

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Lets talk- Harold

About Harold Duffield: - age 67 - grew up on the Mississippi River - was whats known as a "river rat". He has been messing about and building boats for over 50 yrs. Now he is offering plans and kits for fishing boats, shantys, house boats and even sailboats in aluminum as well as finished boats.

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