Boats Too

A prior posting was all about boats with emphasis on low cost and DIY Do It Yourself boats, especially those than can be stowed in small spaces (like my car or truck).

As that page is now way high “page weight” from lots of videos, I’m starting this page for a bit more discussion without all that waiting to load things you’ve already seen.

Here’s the first segment:

Expandacraft has a product that does most of what I’d want to do. I’m just not keen on spending $1600 to get it. So I’d been pondering my own build. Then I stumbled on this demonstration of reconfiguring one of their boats into 3 different builds.

My big takeaway from it is simple: I had a 27 foot motor sailor that could be taken on the ocean. It has colored my sense of “needed strength” too much for a boat that will be run on a fishing lake in calm weather for fishing. Either that, or their craft is not going to be very sturdy. Given the number shown in various videos, I think they probably have “enough strength”; which then means I could lighten my design point considerably.

So, with that, their assembly is very simple and the strength of elements is not extreme. Simple PVC tubes, near as I can tell, from watching the video, make the “spars” of the deck support. What looks like thin aluminum plank makes the deck. Pontoon sections join with what looks like a ‘blow moulded plastic dovetail’.

Given the apparent low need for stiffness and strength in a low speed catamaran, the whole build becomes easier.

Now this video has a novel way of joining boat sections for a 2 piece dingy. A large dovetail is built between the two sections and a turn lock at the top prevents them from sliding back out. That has real potential for a pontoon in sections also.

So I’m thinking that DIY pontoon sections made of “stitch & glue” thin plywood, some with foam cores for persistent buoyancy, then with dovetail locking joints to join them, and a more modest spar structure to support a very light weight decking based off of two center pontoon sections ought to be light, easy to store and transport, and still be effective.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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73 Responses to Boats Too

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; well you have almost got me convinced, to examine the need to devise a KD boat the would fit in the back of a SUV ;-) …pg .

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    The only thing I would add to that dove tail design would be a couple safety pins going through holes in the top of the bulkheads so that even if the twist locks failed you would have a second safety to keep the dovetails from disengaging.

    I was thinking along similar lines but more in the the pattern of a double shear splice connection between the two segments. (I wish word press made it easy to up load an image of your own – without hosting it some where but I will try to find something similar)

    One option would be an adaption of this item to a connector system between the bulk heads, with a tab and slot setup and a knock out wedge to pull it tight.

    (cut and paste remove square brackets)

    T-bolts also have possibilities for such a connection a slot formed between two metal strips, you just slide the heads of the T-bolts down into the slot and tighten with a wing nut. Not quite as simple as the boat illustrated above but perhaps a bit stronger if properly engineered.


  3. H.R. says:

    I’m going to look at kayaks. They can be sectioned and then a bulkhead can be cut to fit. The cut end is the template to trace onto wood for an exact fit bulkhead. Use a sawz-all to cut close to the template line and get it exact with a disc sander. Some of those chambers can be filled with foam.

    I’d consider using strut channel instead of making dovetails.

  4. H.R. says:

    I found this image of a stick and covered kayak (scroll down) and it shows some interesting construction ideas that would translate to pontoons.

  5. H.R. says:

    Bingo! (sorta) Modular, dovetailed pontoon sections.

  6. H.R. says:

    Better. Modular, dovetailed pontoon sections. 17″ wide

  7. C Keays says:

    Any Catamaran can theoretically achieve twice the speed of the wind when tacking. To me low speed ( thus low stress ) and catamaran are oxymorons. build beefy. good luck and good sailing

  8. H.R. says:

    And finally, a place that sells pontoons for pond boats. They come in 4′ lengths and their chart shows 12′ and up. I wonder if they would sell an 8′ kit?

  9. jim2 says:

    On alligators, I wonder if bear spray would work on one? What about spicing up a pontoon with capsaicin capsules?

  10. H.R. says:

    @jim2 – A lot of people like a few dashes of hot sauce on their oyster on the half-shell.

    Alligators might think, “Well I don’t particularly like the crunchy part, but the hot sauce on the tender morsel on top adds a tasty kick. mmmmmmm!”

  11. Larry Ledwick says:

    I wonder what a gator would do if you put a metal wire around the perimeter, a ground plate on the keel and a fence charger you could turn on when needed?

  12. jim2 says:

    It appears the electric eel didn’t survive either, but check this out!

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    The big problem is that gators do a lunge attack. By the time you know it is in progress, they have your foot or arm in their mouth, headed for the bottom, and doing a ‘death roll’ to rip it off so you bleed to death for easy snacking later. You must have a barrier between you and gator lunge.

    That video is a bizarre example of darwin in progress… Let’s see, you are clamped in a gator mouth and so you deliver a large shock that causes the gator to spasm and locks the jaws down with electrified muscle… Then it’s a race condition to see who dies in what order….


    Same problem with an electric fence you must turn on… It would need to be on all the time AND be sturdy enough the gator would not break it when 400 lbs of angry hungry dinosaur is launched at it at about 10 mph… Otherwise it would just note the tingle in transit and then be latched on to the tasty bit…

    So my design goal is to be about 2 feet above the water and about 2 feet back from the edge of the platform. That seems to be a roughly safe distance as long as you don’t dangle bits of yourself over the edge… Then you watch for gators “checking you out”. When you see one case the joint, then head your way anyway, start the motor and “move on”…

    Found another interesting set of videos. A cat made with insulation board again. The design goal being a one day build. Two bits of particular interest to me:

    1) Another build with less stiffness than I’d expect, but still works well.

    2) Some interesting “lessons learned” between first sail and final re-build… Things to remember. It’s all screwed together so can also be taken apart and reworked. Again, lacking finish on the wood bits.

    Then a micro-cat that fits in a Smart Car…

    I’d be wanting bigger (and higher…) and have a bigger car… but it is an interesting lower bound.

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting videos, obviously his “accessory motor” needs skin diving fins to improve propulsion efficiency (or a small trolling motor for when be-calmed).

    Interesting lesson on the keel effect of the pontoons if they have too shallow of a draft, looks like any effective small cat like that will need a keel board and or a narrow thin float to get more “bite” on the water with light loads. Memo need a paddle and clip to hold it until needed or if you want to be original a small sea anchor and rope you can toss out and reel your self in on.

    One of the local parks here in Denver have little catamarans with a peddle powered stern wheel design which could probably be fashioned with fairly crude materials.

    Or this interesting narrow double hull kayak style cat.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @C Keays:

    There are two kinds of cats… Fast sailing ones, and slow barge like motor fishing / party boats…

    I’m fond of flying over the water on a Hobie Cat hiking out and all, but I’m also fond of sneaking up on bass in the reeds at 2 mph…

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    A bit of an Ah Ha! moment…

    All these modular pontoons have a pointy bit in the front, some square ended joints with flat end segments, and then either a squared off end or another pointy bit end. Making vertical joins has some issues in that you want a more or less smooth skin, but need fasteners going at 90 degrees to the skin, so some kind of access to inside the pontoon or a dovetail joint and keeper.

    So why not make pontoons out a series of essentially parallelogram shaped segments?

    With a 45 or so degree join angle, your attachment bolts can be put in vertically and cranked down to nearly flush with the surface. The join has lots of overlap along the pressure vector. (scarf joint) Any float can go in any position.


    As a rough example.

    If desired, you could even make the ends V shaped and have them nest on two axis. so


    seen from above

    Then have a rudder kit that bolts into the same mount holes for the very end.

    Now you have just ONE design of pontoon segment, ONE fastener type to deal with, significant overlap of segments for load distribution, and any pontoon part can go in any position.

    With a slight recess for washer and bolt head, the skin would remain relatively drag free. Top bolts out of the water and lower bolt not that much of an issue. I suppose you could even work out some kind of a clip in for the bottom leaving a clean bottom skin, and just have a cover for the very front pontoon instead of a clip… ( or a clip that doesn't have that much drag impact) Maybe like an arrowhead slot. <-== where it slides into a matching sort of dovetail like bracket of the rear of the previous pontoon, then a keeper bolt up top prevents sliding back out. The <-= on the front pontoon being a pretty good bow form anyway and the slot in the rear being inside a < end would not change drag measurably.

    Then the top of each pontoon has a stiffened spine with attachment points for crossbeams. Either PVC beams like in the Expandaboat or box beams with lag screws for a more traditional deck… I think you can get that down to about a dozen pontoon screws and 16 deck to pontoon screws or aircraft pins. After that, it's just what do you need to connect the deck panels into one solid deck… Bolt on rudder kit, slide dagger board down the center of the deck if desired, and mount trolling motor. (And load beer chest…)

    Part of me wants to just steal the lashing method of attaching pontoons to spars… it appeals to the sailor in me as that tying off to the dock cleat is instinctive now… but I also want enough more deck elevation that a gator has to climb a couple of feet, and that would mean bolting on risers anyway. Maybe lashing tensile members and compression tube basic frame, the a second layer of raised deck giving an I beam stiffening effect… Both made light as in the other examples, but two together making a very stiff tough combination.

    So picture one of those builders foam pontoons, but sawed at an angle along the length into 3 or 4 segments (as needed for desired pontoon length). Now have hardware to connect each segment to the one in front / rear. Pontoon that stacks in the trunk, not on the roof. Each segment with a riser to the deck and a compression spar to the opposite pontoon segment, lashing rope front and rear. Set on deck segments, insert aircraft pins. Done.

    Now you have one kind of pontoon segment build. One kind of deck segment build. And clear bolt ons for steering, motor, etc. Fairly rapid "dozen bolts and some pins" assembly, Small flat stack in storage.

    I need to ponder this some more, but I think I've reached the stage where a design can happen…

  17. H.R. says:

    I just had an AHA! moment regarding transport. I’m already towing a 30′ trailer, so the wide cat pontoons and deck strips could be transported – with the pontoons assembled – on the roof of the trailer. The accessories could go in the truck.

    I really like the Wide Cat but I’ve been trying to avoid the cost by exploring the home-built options. I also didn’t like the idea of giving up the storage in the truck for the pontoons, where I pack the grill, fishing gear, air compressor, and several other things that don’t go in the trailer.

    The trick for ‘trailer-topping’ the pontoons is keeping them in place. Drilling holes in the roof is not a good thing, but I’m sure there are solutions. The roof has plenty of strength as it is designed for someone to walk on it for maintenance.

    Here’s another pontoon boat I missed. It’s made in Florida, so I could pick it up next trip. It’s worth scrolling down through their pictures.

    The pontoons weigh 65lbs each and the rig as shown weighs 250lbs. I didn’t catch the max capacity or price.

    Also, one of the other pontoon makers touted the square pontoons as being better than round because they don’t have the stability problem if the weight shifts to one side and the water goes above the major diameter. Somebody already pointed this out earlier in comments.

  18. Larry Ledwick says:

    “Also, one of the other pontoon makers touted the square pontoons as being better than round because they donโ€™t have the stability problem if the weight shifts to one side and the water goes above the major diameter.”

    Which would be a major advantage of the trapezoidal pattern pontoons I mentioned earlier which have the wide width at the top and the narrow width on the bottom so they could be nested in storage.

    In the water,as you moved to one side of the deck you would push the pontoon on that that side deeper into the water where its displacement grows and the opposite pontoon would be lifted so that its displacement is reduced creating a counteracting leverage to level the deck.

    If the pontoon was shaped like this \_/ you have a shape that naturally can be nested on the trailer (back of the car truck what ever), and has good behavior in the water. You only need to come up with a simple way to close the top and form flotation chambers in the pontoon as safety against punching a hole in it and end to end flooding of the pontoon.

    That can be accomplished,by a set of intermediate bulk heads like in the “dovetail segment boat” above. If you put flotation bladders in the chambers you could add another measure of safety. The bladders could be anything from tied off trash bags full of air, to river bags, to car inner tubes to custom formed bladders.

    These 20 liter river rafting dry bags would each provide a bladder with 20 kg (44# ) of buoyancy.


    3 mil heavy duty contractors clean up trash bags would be a lot cheaper than the river rafting dry bags, and easy to fill and place in the pontoons before capping the top of the pontoons as you assembled the boat on site.

    If the “trough” pontoon shells were built out of thick urethane foam boards with an outer skin of fiber glass you would have a reserve flotation even if the body of the trough filled with water due to damage. If built in short sections like the dove tail boat you have basically a lego block design of common pattern pontoon segments which could be easily stored as a nested stack, and then assembled quickly on site as you put the boat together.

  19. H.R. says:

    Ahhh… so it was you who pointed that out earlier, Larry. That is definitely the way to go.

    I have access to an expert aluminum and SS welder who would weld up a couple of trapezoidal! pontoons and the braces and fittings. It would only cost me $100 and a case of beer and he wouldn’t care how long it took to weld them up. He’s an AVID fisherman and might do it just for a case of beer and a copy of the prints.

    Now I just need to find a sheet metal shop to bend the sheets.

    I believe retail on that Tomcat pontoon is $4000, so they are probably at coming in at a fully burdened cost of less than $2000. What I liked is that it is saltwater worthy (Al and SS construction). I have CAD software to make usable prints to contract out any fabricated components, though I’d shoot for off-the-shelf fittings and hardware from McMaster-Carr.

    Tohatsu makes a saltwater-rated 2.5hp motor that typically sells at about $1000, though I suspect you could get one for $800-$900 if you are willing to scrounge around.

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    Consider also the width of your trailer. Often the mirrors on the cab are a couple of feet wider than the trailer, so you can hang a (relatively) thin pontoon or boat on the side. Foldable flat boats are often carried that way on trailers or RVs. Folds up to about 4 inches thick and hung on the side is largely out of the way. See example here:

    In the article about making a pedal pontoon, they talk about pontoon hull sections.

    Square (or square with rounded corners) has lowest drag / unit buoyancy. V has a lot of skin drag without much lift at the tip. Round or 1/2 round is in between (but doesn’t fill as much volume as the square for any given skin depth)

    The problem with round pontoons comes in when you have them more than 1/2 submerged. Then each added unit of depth adds less and less lift. Once past the 1/2 way point and sinking there isn’t much more buoyancy coming to your aid… This often show up under power when a forward point starts to submerge (engine thrust & wave over the tip) or on sail catamarans when going way fast and you hit a wave or turn quick (resulting in the “pitch pole” maneuver as you discover the art of flying from the rear seating area over the now stopped front corner of the boat… it can be fun, but often isn’t.)

    The tips of pontoons often have a lot of rise (especially for ocean going boats) to help prevent this.

    Larry’s trapezoidal cross section is likely the best compromise, especially if made with slightly rounded bottom corners for easier glassing. I’ve considered making them with a 2 inch thickness of foam in the walls for inherent buoyancy and stiffness, yet still able to stack. Bit of a toss up for me ATM between that and just flat sections. Need final volume compared to vehicle volume to know if the volume savings is worth the added complexity for me.

    As my design point is slow trolling, skin drag is not a concern. (Drag as cube of V IIRC, perhaps 4th power, but in any case way slow is way low drag).

  21. Larry Ledwick says:

    i think someone else specifically mentioned the stability issue with round pontoons but there is a common boat building pattern where for side to side stability you want the hull displacement to rapidly increase as the hull rolls on the outside. Many boats have small steps in the hull just above water line so that as the boat hull rolls that step goes into the water and creates buoyancy to counter act the roll moment.

    For simplicity of construction the plain jane trapazoid shape would be the easiest to build and be able to nest inside each other on storage \_/ but I personally think the ideal pontoon shape if you are not worried about shallow draft shallow water navigation would be a pontoon that was Y shaped which could also nest if properly designed


    where you have a thin blade keel about 6-8 inches wide then a rapid flare on top. The keel will give you sideways stability (as mentioned in the video of the home made foam board cat, and the wide flare would give you that forgiving shape buoyancy wise, at the cost of 2 additional bends on the side wall.

    If I was building one, I would favor a modified trimaran style where the center pontoon extends a bit ahead of the two side pontoons (gives you a projecting bow for beaching and docking and a small sheltered area in the stern if you wanted to tow along a small inflatable backup utility boat or to fish off the back or go swimming off the back of the deck.

    Sort of a scaled down version of the Littoral combat ship with a bit less forward bias on the center hull.


  22. E.M.Smith says:

    I see you are talking aluminum pontoons… ignore that rounded corners as you are not glassing..

    Also note that the pitch pole video is with triangular (more or less) pontoons adding lots of lift with depth increases. The Hobie also twists the points inward so when hiked up on one pontoon that acts like a rising point. But the bottom line is push it hard and fast enough, you will pitch pole.

    Same holds for power boats (thrust vector just from motor not mast) but without as much downward rotational force from a high mounted sail. Still, a big motor pushes the nose down some. You will often see little up angled ‘wings’ on the nose of the pontoons to add dynamic lift force when you manage to get water that high on the pontoon under thrust… The good news is that powered pontoon boats usually are heavier and slower so much harder to pitchpole. Making the deck suddenly awash is your usual punishment for overdriven overloaded operation… and a sudden rush of loose stuff and people to the front railing of the boat…

    You ought not to see any of that in a powered cat unless in heavy seas and too much motor or dangerously overloaded.

    Oh, and I hope your roof is low enough or your AC already pokes up high enough that putting a set of pontoons on your roof doesn’t give you bridge height issues… Just sayin’… “boat into bridge on RV’ is never a good headline…

  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm maybe those crazy vikings had a clue when they put those high curved bows on their long ships. Even a massive wave would be diverted and not dump tons of water into the ship if they nosedived a breaking wave.

    On the pontoon, if the front segment of the pontoon had a flat tapered front like the WWII landing craft or similar to this, you would have that uplift force on nosing into a wave.


    This design has a good mix of both a conventional bow and that full width upsweep to allow the boat to keep its nose from submarining into a wave.


  24. E.M.Smith says:


    Not just Vikings. For slower ships that could only run before the wind, there was the risk of “following seas” swamping you, so the dumpy galleons have a modest upsweep to the bows, with a long bowsprit to help, then the stern gets a major lift. Lowest part of the deck is amidships.

    As both ends need to be able to not “nose under” a wave…

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    Clipper ships were very fast, so had less need for stern uplift. Still had a little, but the bows got more attention:

    Speed about like a modern small catamaran. “Hull speed” limits displacement hulls to essentially one wavelength from stem to stern, so longer hulls mean more speed up to hull speed, then you must start planing to go faster (thus cats and such flying on one pontoon side… )

  26. H.R. says:

    With a 3.5hp motor, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about ‘over-powering’ a boat. ๐Ÿ˜œ

    I’ve noted the wings on round pontoons. Had them on our 24′ pontoon boat we sold back in 1988″. I hadn’t thought to add them.

    Already considered the low bridge scenario. There’s the air-con unit (16″ high) on top which gives me a clearance of 11′ 7″. So long as the pontoons are under 21″, I’ll only have to watch for 12′ clearance bridges. Otherwise, “Plan Routes Accordingly.” ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿคฌ

    @Larry: I knew some sort of keel would be needed. I didn’t think of forming them in the bottom. Good idea. McMaster-Carr has 4’x’4’x 0.080″ sheets of 5052 Al for $128.xx each. McMaster-Carr is not the low cost provider, so I’d imagine I could get two 4’x8′ sheets for a bit over $200 each.

    I’ve been looking around in the McMaster-Carr catalogue today to get a budget figure.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    Side note on those Hobie Cats, looks like they could use a plane step strake on the outside of the hulls with a good uplift at the front of the strake.

    Something like the sharp strake on this hull but with a bit more lift and surface area at the very front.

    Basic shape of my Y shaped pontoon concept

  28. Larry Ledwick says:

    Those Hobie cats go fast enough, they could truly get the pontoons on plane if they had the right shape, instead of a hull shape designed as a displacement hull designed to cut through the water.

    I don’t think your fishing pontoon boat will be going fast enough to make use of hydrofoils ;)

  29. E.M.Smith says:


    OK, being a bit conservative, say you make pontoons 1.5 feet wide (so laying on side only 18 inches leaving 3 inches for some clearance, trailer tilt, rope stretch / whatever…) then 2.5 feet deep and 16 feet long gives 1.5 x 2.5 x 16 x = 60 cu ft. at 60 lbs /cu.ft. that’s 3600 lbs lift.

    It is really 64 lbs/cu-ft for sea and 62 for fresh water but we’re being conservative.
    You have 2 pontoons but only ought to have them 1/2 in the water, so why double for 2 then 1/2 it… just calculate one and stop.
    I’d not want to depend on 3 inches of clearance at 50 mph… I’d go for 1 foot by 3 and 20 long and call it enough keel for a power boat…
    Adjust according to intended actual load. if not carrying small cars you can go smaller…

  30. H.R. says:

    That Clipper Ship is a beauty, E.M.

    Stable โœ…
    Comfortable โœ…
    Alligator proof โœ…
    Ease of fishing โœ…
    Salt or fresh water โœ…
    Easy to store well, ummm… no
    Easy to transport well, ummm… no
    Suitable for small ponds well, ummm… no

    But it would be great if you built one 1/16th scale. I’d bet a quarter that you’d be the only one in your neighborhood with one. Oh, you’d probably want to mount a small swivel cannon in case the bass boat boys give you any trouble. ๐Ÿ˜œ

  31. E.M.Smith says:


    Hobbies get up on plane Just Fine! Often before you expect it or are ready for it…

    As it is driven by weight shifting along with rope handling and ALL bits are in motion including the person(s), any discontinuities in what happens are, um, “sub-optimal”… Even just minor puffs of wind or a momentary inattention to angle of hull can result in you discovering the joys of flight…

    Your idea might well be great; but I’ll let you test it first ;-)

    (FWIW, some cats have the mast filled with foam, others will hoist a beachball like float to the top of the mast. All so it can’t “turn turtle” – i.e. go upside down. A cat that’s turned turtle either needs a crane to pick it up and turn it, or a whole lot of people hiking out … and splashing into the water, and continuing to haul on the lines, and dodging the pontoon as it comes crashing down at them if they succeed… You can do it on very small cats – big ones not so much… Fond Memories of sailing a light Hobbie Cat some years ago… only pitch-poled a few times ;-)

  32. E.M.Smith says:


    You would want to add:

    Small crew needed, ummmm no.

    Here’s one with even less sails to handle:

    Just barely over 20 instead of the 25 above. So what size would be 1/16?

    Length: 252 ft so 15.75 feet.
    Width: 45.6 ft so 2.85 feet.

    Hmm… going to be a bit narrow…

    Draft: 29.2 feet so 1.825 feet….

    I think you are talking a canoe with a whole lot of sails to rig…

    Notes: Has held the record for the fastest speed ever for a sailing ship, 22 knots (41 km/h, 25 mph), since 1854

    So about 164 years… and unless someone sets out to make an even bigger sailing ship, likely to hold that record forever…

  33. H.R. says:

    I’m thinking 10′ (maybe 12′) pontoons and 1,000lbs total being floated: two less-than-svelte guys, motor, gas, fishing gear, decking and bracing materials, 2 deluxe pedestal fishing seats, bimini top, 40″x80″ beer cooler, =>necessary railing ;), 18″x26″ fish cooler, 2 sandwiches and a bag of chips.

    So far it looks like materials would be about $2,500, call it $3,000 for budget purposes and scrounge around trying and failing to get it to $2,000. Wait for a good used 3.5hp saltwater outboard to crop up and I’d say a remarkably safe, fish-able, comfortable, gator proof, salt/fresh water, easily transportable boat could be made.

    So far, the DIY boat discussions have provided a wealth of good features to include and lots of what-to-avoid material.

    I think for prototyping, cardboard, poster board, light wood square stock and wood dowels could be used and then sprayed with that ‘As-seen-on-TV’ Flex Seal for water trials. Probably could make an informative 1/4-scale prototype for $50 bucks or less.

  34. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hobbies get up on plane Just Fine! Often before you expect it or are ready for itโ€ฆ

    Ahh I had not considered the ability to change the angle of attack of the hull by shifting weight to get it up on plane, even though it does not have a hull with a plane step or strakes etc. usually needed to get a conventional boat hull up out of the water and on plane.

    That said, given the huge torque arm of the mast, it would be nice to engineer in some anti-dive behavior into the nose to make it a bit more forgiving if it spears a small wave and is not getting blown over by a following gust.

    I have witnessed the result of an over turned small cat, when I was in the Navy a couple guys took a small cat out into Apra harbor on Guam and some where out there capsized it. It took them hours to paddle it back upside down into the inner harbor. They were so low in the water with no visible mast no one noticed them until they were withing shouting distance of the guys at Andy’s Hut. They were very tired sailors when they got back.

  35. H.R. says:

    @E.M.: So you’re saying that the rum expense for a small crew outweighs the savings of building a DIY boat?

    It just goes to show ya: you can’t get away with avoiding ‘fuel’ expense on any type of boat.๐Ÿ˜

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    Something like the turned up noses used on these traditional Hawaiian canoes which were designed to spit an on coming wave and help it climb up and over rather than spear the front of the wave and submarine.

    Bow & stern end covers – The kupe, or bow and stern end covers, prevents water from spilling into the canoes hull. The end of the kupe is turned up, and is referred to as the manu, which breaks through incoming waves so that the canoe can rise up and stay afloat.

    Note that these sea going canoe designs had a piercing bow with a blunt break water behind it.
    note comments in above link that it has identical ends and instead of tacking they would simply reset the sail and swap bow for stern. The outrigger was always up winds as a counter weight.

    Interesting that sea faring societies all over the world came to similar conclusions about boat design (or had enough contact between sailors that design knowledge diffused through sailing cultures world wide over thousands of years).

  37. Larry Ledwick says:

    A piercing bow design which resists plunging into a wave Top of bow sheds water easily helping buoyancy lift the bow back to the surface.

    I have seen an old traditional style sea going canoe (boat) which had a flat “duck bill” extending upward which would create strong hydronamic forces to lift the bow if it hit a wave face but I cannot find an image of one. As I recall it was somewhere in the south pacific or asia but no clue which civilization.

  38. H.R. says:

    Pleasant dreams. E.M. ;)

  39. E.M.Smith says:


    Thus my 2 feet up and 2 feet in AND a small strong fence requirement…

    It looks like the guy may have a machete by the wrist string dangling from his right hand as he jumps to the front ;-) ( I have one for that purpose too…)


    Form follows function. One twist;

    In the Atlantic, storms pop up suddenly out of nowhere without much warning, but they are typically not brutal giants, so the general design goal is a dumpy strong boat that will survive even if inverted. You can ride out most things, and don’t get enough warning to try to outrun them. There are lots of waves though, even when no storm is being a bother.

    In the Pacific, most of the time the seas are relatively smooth. Storms tend to be gigantic cyclones. They are NOT survivable (in a hand made wooden boat, and Halsey found out it was marginal in an aircraft carrier as the deck bent over the bows…) BUT, you do get warming in advance when a big one is out there somewhere, and they usually move slowly in any linear direction. You CAN outrun them if you go perpendicular to the circular winds… So a Cat or Trimaran that can go Damn Fast, but not survive storms well, is the path to longevity. RUN to the nearest island and haul out, or just get off the storm track.

    Thus the traditional open catamaran of the Polynesians, and the traditional dumpy fishing boats of the British that can be fully closed up into a water tight bobber…

    And yeah, in the ocean everybody has to deal with waves trying to break over the bow or stern, somehow… and everybody knows not to take waves from the side. Carry a sea anchor so even if you must stow all your sails and lose your rudder you can toss it in, tied to an end, and weather vane the best end into the wind and waves. know how to make an expedient rudder from whatever is on board if needed… ( i.e. that dining table and hand saw… )

    My boat was 27 foot fiberglass of the dumpy and close it up / ride it out sort. High deck height and drains for water that got to the wheel… On one occasion was reefing the main single handing in relatively high winds and chop on SF Bay and out of the mists came a BIG SHIP… I decided to just turn the key, start the Diesel, hit full throttle and point it sideways to the line of attack ;-)

    I know a lot of snobby sail folks who poo-poo motors. I really really liked my motor…

  40. Larry Ledwick says:

    I spent 4 days at sea in a super typhoon (120-140) knot winds in the Pacific off Guam. She was 529 ft long with a 73 ft beam and displaced 9800 tons and we took a bad wave on the side of the bow and it literally rung the ship like a bell. I understand that ride out a storm thing.

    We had 3 days warning to fuel and take on ballast water, and spent a couple days walking on the walls and dodging things that broke loose and were chasing us around the mess decks.
    We were occasionally taking green water on the O3 level bridge windows when I stood my bridge watch and the ship wanted to wind vane in the wind and did not want to answer the rudder to turn away from the Island of Rota until our Exec officer gave the officer in charge a little lesson on seamanship by maintaining enough speed to let the rudder turn the ship..

    Ever try to secure a salad bar while a ship is taking 20 degree rolls?

    The boat sailors said even with the sub at 100 ft depth they were getting knocked around.

  41. jim2 says:

    I’m beginning to see why even cheap boats are thousands of dollars.

  42. ossqss says:

    Guys, I am just sayin, a cheap boat or basic trailer and a Jon boat in Florida make sense with the numbers I am seeing. No assembly required. There are bazillions of them here for sale. Just add bearings and you’re done :-)

  43. E.M.Smith says:


    More wind and seas than I ever want to experience. “Any port in a storm” is great advice as long as your ship can fit in a port you can reach…

    “power to steer”: Been there, done that… At about 1/2 knot my rudder didn’t do much. I’d keep the engine at idle and juice it just a little to make the boat turn more smartly when coming in to dock. In theory I could do it all on sail only, but I never saw the ROI of it and my ego was big enough already 8-)

    Had to remember to reverse rudder when using reverse engine to stop ;-)


    Yeah, there’s a lot that can go wrong, a lot that must be made “just so” and many many things to consider in making a craft to meet your design goals. Then the result of failure on the Ocean is usually horrific.

    That said, on calm days on inland waters just about anything that doesn’t sink is fine.

    My raft navigated about 12 “crow” miles (and about 30 river miles) of the Feather River, at night, including rapids with a tree fallen in the middle angled to shore… that we hit… All for 2 x plywood panels, 6 free pesticide drums, 6 2×4’s (IIRC) with screws to the plywood, and 15 mixed screw eyes & hook eyes, with 6 turnbuckles and some left over guy wire. Not too shabby for nearly no money by a couple of high school kids. Carried 3 adults nicely and could likely have carried a small VW… (our design calcs said it would, and we had one, but were unwilling to test it (mostly as we didn’t have a loading ramp for the VW…) )

    There are “coroplast” folding boats you can make in about 2 hours for something like $30 that work fine for fishing a small pond… Just don’t do rapids or bad weather or go into the ocean in one ;-)

    But “ocean going” is a few orders of magnitude more Plucker Factor with copious $$$ mandatory or you are playing “Bet your life” on your storm / wave avoidance skills…. Folks with $Millions boats have discovered the hard way that they break in bad storms, no matter how well built and designed.

    “Sailors inspect the damage to the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet after Typhoon Connie subsided.”


    Now think what it takes for a wave to reach the deck… and then bend it…

    No, I have no desire to be a blue water sailor in the Pacific… Nice cruise ships and only in the good season is fine with me…

  44. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve taken a look at the “car topper” and think the Forester roof rack might be “up to it” for a Jon Boat. It’s a bit less “gator distance” than I’d like, so I’m hoping for a cat with 2′ and 2′ up and over… OTOH, I did go out fishing in a canoe and lived ;-) (2 people in a larger Coleman plastic thing… no motor just oars… too heavy and moving wrong it wanted to tip you into the water; but part of that might be two big guys a bit over rated capacity ;-) The owner wasn’t sure was “capacity” was, so we got in and it didn’t sink right off, so “good to go” right? ;-)

    I figure we were at about 600 including gear and beer in a canoe with max near 700 lbs…

    Let’s just say we kept a sharp eye out for gators and had the paddles at the ready. This is the lake near his home that was not known for anything but small gators – but you never know…

    So yeah, a car topped Jon Boat or canoe (though I’d add outriggers as tip proofing and gator early warning / trip device) is my fallback position. MAYBE a light boat on trailer, but then you get into the need to add a hitch and wiring, have a place to store the trailer, etc. etc. Thus my exploration of building a modest cat w/platform (more stable less gator reachable) that can stow inside a small truck; or worst case on the roof.

    Or if I live long enough to sell out of California and actually see the money, buy a chunk of dirt and park a big truck, trailer, and boat on it (and tell the spouse if she complains, I’m going to use it as intended and go fishing ;-)

    For now, though, it’s all just “exploring the decision space” to learn the parameters. When the time comes, then a decision can be very very fast.

  45. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yeah the thing that I found most scary about my super typhoon experience is at about 120 knots wind speed you cannot see the waves, it just rips the spray off the top of the waves and it looks exactly like a ground blizzard – just a gray white flat surface of streamers of mist.

    Only occasionally can you actually see the sea state, and the helmsman mostly steers by feel on how the ship is taking the waves.

  46. Larry Ledwick says:

    Bit of strong language in that video clip sorry I did not review it first. Turn down the volume if on speaker and in other than a private location.

  47. ossqss says:

    EM, I had a flat back Ghanoe (spelling) when I first moved here and traveled with it (with foam roof spacers) on my then future X fiances Accord roof with straps and it worked well. Used a 2.5 HP air cooled gas engine, I think Craftsman (1986 ish). Loud, but effective. The boat was made of thick plastic with an aluminum tube frame and was pretty much bullet proof (fully tested). I have been through a few boats here from a 16′ fish and ski walk through to a 23′ cuddy cabin with a 351 Cleveland ( 2 gallons per mile). My favorites were the Jon boats. No frills, just worked. Mostly used with a trolling motor and a good deep cycle battery, which doubled as hurricane kit power with an inverter. All I was referencing is if you can get a 12′ Jon boat with trailer for less than a grand, I would.. only thing you gotta watch is the transom on those, but that is easily replaced.

  48. ossqss says:

    I think I had similar waves in my back yard lake when Hurricane Irma came through Larry. I think I used similar language also on video while watching it from my back door ;-)

  49. ossqss says:

    For what it’s worth, while hurricane Irma was in process we were communicating with neighbors with walkie talkies (have your neighbors have those if you live here). I referenced the highest gust I saw on my cheap weather station was 30 miles an hour. My neighbor across the street who is a 30-year seasoned Charter Captain said no that is closer to 90 to 100 miles an hour. That is when I looked out back and saw he was right! Looked like the North Sea out back!

  50. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Larry: I remember one of those in “65” while a crew member on a Navy Super Oilier, 32,000 tons fully loaded. The Skipper was a mustang, the most senior Captain in the Fleet. This was his last command and he wasn’t going to be late for his last big liberty/ships party in Taipei. Even if there was a Typhoon in the way.

    A day out of Subic the seas started getting rough and I hear “All hands stand clear of the main deck”, no big deal. The main deck is only 6 feet above the loaded waterline.. After a while the word over the 1MC is “all hands stay clear of the 01 deck” The working deck that connects the ship fore and Aft. I’m at my working station, a machinery space and machine shop just forward of steering under the mess deck. Things are starting get a bit rough and the 1MC squawks “All hands stay clear of the 02 level”, ok, this is fun. After a few more hours of increasing pitching and rolling we are up to “All Hands stay clear of the 07 level! ” THE STACKs! This is getting to be the real “E” ticket ride!. Kind of like the ride operator is the devil himself, good thing I don’t get motion sickness. From time to time the propeller blades thump thump thump from being lifted out of the water. The deck feels to be moving 30 feet? up and down and rocking from side to side. I decide to go up the ladder, 20 feet up to the berthing deck on the 01 level, make it in 1 step, Turn right to take the passage forward and after 3 steps the ship rolls hard to the port and smacks me HARD along side my head………………………………………………………..don’t remember much of the next 8 hours. But we did arrive at Keilung on time, in 20foot seas. Had to anchor outside the harbor due to restrictions because of the amount of fuel we carried…pg. .

  51. Larry Ledwick says:

    i got a similar ride, our data processing space was one deck down from the mess decks on deck 2 and right behind the engine room. I left at end of shift and headed toward the stern and was just starting up the ladder to the main deck when the bottom dropped out from under me and I found myself floating in mid air only attached to the ship by my death grip on the hand rails. The the ship reversed direction and came up and smacked me in the shins with the ladder, I was walking funny for a while after that, had bruises and road rash the full length of my shins.

    My watch station was on the O3 level main bridge (1MC talker) and the only way up there without going through officers quarters and the chiefs quarters was on the weather deck. They had told everyone to stay off the weather decks unless you had a duty assignment that required it, so I got to undog the hatch and go out on the weather deck – they had rope lines rigged from the main deck to the hand rails for the ladder bridge. It was an interesting walk watching those mountains of water rush by (what little you could see through squinted eyes) from the driving rain and sea spray.

    Taught me a great deal of respect for Mother Nature and the Sea, makes you realize how insignificant you are to the Universe.

  52. H.R. says:

    @Larry L., who wrote: “Taught me a great deal of respect for Mother Nature and the Sea, makes you realize how insignificant you are to the Universe.”

    Yah, but… if you recycle, eat a vegan diet, submit to a One World Socialist government, and drive an electric car, you can control the Earth’s temperature.

    Sorry. I could not find a sarc tag large enough to cover that one. ๐Ÿ˜œ

    @ossqss: No argument from me about an aluminum jon boat or vee, Tee-nee trailer, and 5-ish hp motor. Very good setup for my neck of the woods. Around here, rock bottom is about $1,500 due to strong demand. The problem I have is storage and portability to Florida or I would have already bought such an outfit.

    @E.M., who wrote: “For now, though, itโ€™s all just โ€œexploring the decision spaceโ€ to learn the parameters. When the time comes, then a decision can be very very fast.”

    I’ve pretty much made up my mind to go for a small aluminum pontoon. We’ll be traveling, having some guests in, looking to put in a concrete pad for the truck, and be replacing the back patio door over the summer. I aim to have a design and Flex Seal coated paper-based prototype done in the fall. Then I’ll have a look at the Tomcat (I posted a picture of it way upthread) when we go to Florida in December. That’s when I’ll decide whether to “make or buy,” but at a minimum, I’ll get some fabrication tips from looking at their design.

    I’m inclined towards “make,” because even if the cost is the same as buying, there are so many superior ideas that have been presented here that I would certainly get a better pontoon boat that meets my personal fishing needs. Plus, if my design is good enough, at a minimum, the plans will be marketable or I can arrange for a fabricator to make the boats and sell them myself. Selling kits, where the forming and welding has been done, is also a good possibility. That would be a fun small business to play with in retirement.

    I have a lot of experience with configurable products, emulating high-volume-low-variety in low-volume-high-variety environments, poka-yoke fixturing, and design for poka-yoke assembly. The key competitive features would have to be portability and store-ability because there are a lot of very, very nice small pontoons out there that lack those two features.

  53. E.M.Smith says:


    And don’t forget to make a YouTube video or 3 of the design, build, and how to mount it on your trailer… gotta get those ad dollars… ;-)

  54. Steve C says:

    Wow, I like the USS Hornet pic. When you think of the sort of stresses that steelwork meets under normal use, it makes the “wind damage” that much more astonishing.

    Real naval damage aficionados may also care to read about “The Battle of May Island”. I only came upon it myself recently, and I can see why. Not for the faint-hearted.

  55. Larry Geiger says:

    When you get back to Florida go to Travel Country Outdoors in Orlando. They used to have outings where you could try out boats.

    Carol and I have tried boats at Sandy Point in S. Daytona. The river is right in front of the store. We tried several kayaks. I expected them to be lighter than my canoes. They weren’t. Also we didn’t like tandem paddling in a kayak (too much coordination). We’re pretty good in a 17 aluminum Grumman canoe so we decided to stick with a canoe. The Grumman canoe is the best one out there. Plastic canoes are sometimes a little lighter but nothing tracks like a Grumman with the aluminum keel. It’s not very deep but it runs the entire length of the canoe.

    I have one of these that I used on my Nissan Titan for the solo canoe and the Grumman:
    It’s available other places also. You lift up one end of your boat and set it in the T. Strap it down with a pull strap or bungee. Pick up the other end and rotate it around and set it on top of the cab using canoe blocks. Very nice for one person.

    You need to make sure that you try out roof racks with the boat that you plan to get. Some of the plastic kayaks are surprisingly heavy. Or at least I thought they were. Unless you plan on getting a little tiny whitewater kayak, try out the boat and the car top rack before you buy. Lifting a 50 – 80lb kayak up over your car might be harder than it looks. That 6ft 2in 30 year old guy you saw doing that might make it look easier than it is.

    As to your feelings about being in the water with Florida critters I still think that you might be better off in a small aluminum jon boat, canoe or Gheenoe. Try out some of the kayaks. You might decide that sitting right down in the water is not exactly what you want. Maybe. I also think that trailers are the way to go for almost any boat. A Nissan Sentra pulls most any small boat trailer just fine. I know. I did it (before the Titan :-)) The boat has a convenient storage place that is ready to go when you are. Just hook it up and go. You can even use the trailer as storage if you get a jon boat. Some people rig a deck on the trailer and then when they get home put the motor, battery, fuel tank, etc on the deck and then turn the boat upside down over the stuff. Built in storage.

    Another cool place to shop is:
    in St. Pete.

  56. E.M.Smith says:


    As we’re planning on an “RV Lifestyle” at the moment, there isn’t going to be a lot of garage space and I’m already looking at 3 vehicles and 2 drivers… Adding a trailer (no place to store it) and then needing how to tow it and a car, or it and an RV, well…

    So I’m thinking small modular fits inside a vehicle, or “car top”.

    Yesterday went to Bass Pro Shops to assess offerings. It was very helpful.

    The plastic kayak like things are right out of the running. Not enough freeboard, not enough place for “gear & beer”. Kind of stuck in one position.

    The medium / large boats are right out of the running based on cost, added cost of trailer, and no place to put the trailer.

    They had some Tracker aluminum Jon Boats. Weight looks a bit high to me, but it is a big slab of aluminum.

    As of now I’m thinking something like that, or a canoe with added outriggers, is what I’m most likely able to car-top on the Subaru. As I’d mostly be using the Forester for fishing, and the other car for going anywhere with the Spouse, I figure I could just leave the boat on it (and get a bit of storm protection for the Subaru in the process ;-)

    After seeing the weights, though, I had concerns about getting it on top of the car single handed; but figured someone had likely solved that already. That canoe loader looks like it…

    I could be comfortable in a light canoe with an outrigger add on. (Did NOT like the almost tipping over in the canoe without one…) I figure since I’ll be amidships, having outriggers to the sides means all approaches have distance and clutter to slow the gator and give me time. They also eliminate the “lunge to get me and tip canoe over” potential…

    I’ll likely start with the lightest of those two I can find that has a large enough capacity. Then work my way up as needed & IF I can design something I like better that has less lift and space needs. That modular pontoon boat idea… Hmmm…. Add a “leg kit” and it’s a portable table too ;-) Then wrap the sides with strong material and stand it on a bottom sheet: Instant Hard Tent! Sleep in it, eat from it, fish on it, sail away! 8-)

    Maybe I just need to design an RV that can run in the water as a boat… then I don’t need to load, unload, store, whatever anything…

    (Some small monetary considerations might prevent me from affording the test drive…)

  57. ossqss says:

    You just described a Duck boat EM! ;-)

  58. philjourdan says:

    Awesome! Get the floater home! Now I have something to work for in retirement!

  59. E.M.Smith says:

    Stitch & Glue Canoe. $200 / 21 hours.

    What I’m thinking is in my future until I win the Lotto and can by the Floaterhome…


    Your link gives me a 403 Forbidden error…

    Around here a Duck Boat is what you use to go hunting ducks on the water… (fairly large, suitable for a long stay, can be camoed as a duck blind, the dog can get in / out easily often from a swim platform on the rear.) But I suspect you mean one of these:

    Used to be one at a store near here. Owner loved it…

  60. ossqss says:

    Oh man, my pic got disappeared! Here is a substitute….. if it stays up….

  61. E.M.Smith says:

    I think your first picture may still be there, just a “permissions setting” not letting me see it.
    In my WordPress management screen, if I hover the cursor over the link, I get a “preview”, so I guess WordPress has different permissions….

  62. Larry Geiger says:

    If you haven’t looked at RVs yet you might want to look at “Toy Haulers”. Often used to haul 2 or 3 motorcycles. The garage turns into your living room when you drop the ramp and unload. Might be a good place to keep a boat, equipment, etc. Very popular at Daytona Beach RV dealers. Best time to shop for them is BikeWeek in Daytona. Early March. There are dealers all over town setting up on vacant lots.

  63. ossqss says:

    The pic is there on the device I posted it with. Indeed, a google search view permission. What metadata click scumbags they are…. where is Netscape when I need it! LMAO!

  64. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, I just bought a boat.

    $160 for a Pelican Kayak Trailblazer 100 NXT. Last year’s model on closeout from Dick’s

    Regular list about $300 and many other kayaks up in the $400 to $500 range that is way out of my “impulse buy” point. At “2 tanks of gas” I’m much more willing… ( California. Just about $4 / gallon now for premium and a 22 gallon tank on the Mercedes – so $80 if empty to full…)

    Though last year’s comes in a much less red, sort of almost lavender purple that I liked more Not quite Barney purple, but close enough that I need to avoid Manatees ;-) I did NOT want anything close to “Yum Yum Yellow” (what the surfers in Santa Cruz have christened yellow boards as most shark bites have been to them…) nor anything red (yuck! that what things look like after you shoot them!) nor green (now where is my boat in the weeds?) though blue would be OK, but also not that visible on blue water some times… and common…

    Last year’s model also has a cover on the rear storage, instead of open platform storage with a cord laced over it. I prefer the “trunk” idea for fishing gear anyway.

    Basically, I figured at that price, and with at least a year before I’m confronted with the Gator Issue, it was worth it for what I’d learn. It’s 38 lbs and IF I get tired of car topping or porting IT, well, a trailer is in my future as nothing else is going to be close to that light. I can put 32 lbs of weights in it to see what I think of loading a 70 lb boat… I’ll also find out my “fondness” for sitting in one position for hours and paddling… that whole “very small boat” ambiance…

    So I’m thinking of it as about $10 / month of experience for 16 months… while I figure out the likes and don’t likes. And what I think about driving around with things tied on top of the Forester…

    Oh, the Moon-roof was handy for watching the status of it as I drove home… 55 on the freeway until I’m more comfortable with tie down skills and ratchet straps ( $15 kit ).

    My buddy in Florida has a kayak also ( so I didn’t want to match his color – blue IIRC) and seems comfortable with the idea of paddling it on his lake. Maybe just need to stay in motion? But he’s a Florida Native… So now at minimum we can go out in kayaks together (while I learn my Gator Skills…) and then I can decide “what boat next”.

    So, for this coming summer, I’m in a kayak. Next I’ll need to get all the other mandated stuff. A whistle I’ll never ever ever use, required here. A “personal flotation device” that just interferes with my swimming skills – I’m a regular fish… etc. etc. Oh, and a paddle. They wanted $50 at Dick’s but a web search showed $25-35 common. Then I can actually try it in water… Sometime around June try fishing it.

    So the “rapid prototype” stage is set and done. Debugging concept and finalize design issues in the next 3 to 5 months. Then final design and build….Maybe…


    Good idea & we’ve already looked at them a little. Spouse has a medium-large “scooter” and instead of keeping it in pieces or in the car, we thought that would be nice. Also has a ramp and she is not fond of stairs…

    Haven’t yet found one that’s quite right, though. Lots of DWF (…Deal?… With Factor) and not enough amenities. But “we’ll see”. Many of the ramps are clunky to use with side rails that “fall right over” unless all the magic incantations are done right. Or have no railing at all, or railing that ONLY works as a fence after you unload and raise the ramp as a platform. Or…

    Basically the whole RV industry is “arthritis hostile” despite their major customer base being old people. Oh Well… It may be another DIY to get what you want kind of deal. Buy a used one needing work and toss the bits, replace with what you want.

    The other thing was many were prone to putting the bedroom elevated. Not going to work.

    Maybe I ought to just design one for old folks with bad knees and scooters, patent / trademark it, and hire out the construction / collect royalties.

    My “vision” is a toy hauler with a master bedroom in the front, real bathroom – separate shower and pot and sink areas; modest galley with dinette for 2, modest living room ( 2 x recliners, “coffee table”, TV, bookcase), then the “garage” with boat hanging on the wall and matching scooters… Well, maybe one scooter and one motorcycle ;-) or a golf cart… Then on the wall opposite the boat, the tool wall and fold down workbench for “projects” and one rack of electronics built in near the front bulkhead.

    No, no room to “sleep” 54 of your closest distant relatives and their friend’s neighbors. No, no turning the dining area into a sleeping lounge. No, no “basement” meaning you get to climb 3 feet of near-ladder like stairs. MAYBE a few exterior doors to spaces under interior things, like under the bed or under the kitchen. But I expect most of those to be tanks and such. But a BBQ and lawn chairs space under the bed, from exterior, might be nice.

    Then have the rear ramp / door do a simple drop down with side rails that swing up automagically, OR a manual drop down of an inset one person wide with an interior locking door. So you can just set up with a one person ramp / door, or with the whole garage ramp for big toys.

    Probably way too custom…

  65. philjourdan says:

    So let me see the order of things.

    1. Drop NSAIDs
    2. buy Boat.

    Boy getting off the NSAIDs works fast! :-)

  66. E.M.Smith says:


    I think you skipped a step. At least, it’s one I did…

    1) Drop NSAID’s
    2) Drink Saki
    3) Buy boat!


    Sho Chiku Bai – made right here in California!

    About $6 / fifth (though I’ve found the 1.5 liter for $9 ) and quite good. Got started on it from buying sushi at the local grocery where they have a sushi chef in the butcher area… Spouse saying she wants to do that whole Catholic Fish Friday thing (even though now not mandated for most Fridays) and, well, “What’s in it for me?” came to mind ;-)

    Not sure the relative importance of steps 1 vs. 2. 8-0

  67. H.R. says:

    @E.M.: Kayaks are fine. I just already know that my body won’t tolerate the operating position. Enjoy yours!

    I see by your reply to Larry G. that you’ve already done a good bit of looking at RVs of various sorts.

    YES! Why is it, with a major wave of boomers retiring, that they want most models to Sleep 6! Sleep 8! Sleep 10!?? We finally found a model that Sleeps2! Instead of a built-in dinette, it had a table and 4 chairs which I removed so we could house 2 cats and two dogs. When the critters are gone, I’ll put a desk or the table and chairs back in that space.

    We didn’t really look at toy haulers, but at the campgrounds we stayed at, people used them for a patio after unloading the toys. There was one trailer we saw where the side lowered to become a deck and there were sliding glass doors out to it. I’d imagine that you didn’t feel like you were “sitting in a trailer” with that design. Shop, Shop, Shop. You and the missus will know ‘the one’ when you see it.

    Hey! Next time you are in totalwine, pick up a bottle or two of this Russian beer, Baltika 7. I picked up a bottle at a beer specialty shop in Florida and wished I had bought more.

  68. H.R. says:

    P.S. That $9.99 is for a four-pack of 1/2l bottles, so that’s $2.50/beer, but there’s a bonus!

    Any customer who buys Russian beer gets the purchase carried to their car by someone from Mueller’s team…. who will then copy and run your license plate number ๐Ÿ˜œ

  69. Larry Ledwick says:

    Saw the same out at Bonneville, folks would unload the motor cycles and atvs and then use the back of the RV as an outdoor patio that they could even use if it was raining or blowing by moving the RV a bit to get it pointed in the right direction.

  70. jim2 says:

    @H.R. says:19 May 2018 at 2:22 am
    Hey! Next time you are in totalwine, pick up a bottle or two of this Russian beer, Baltika 7.

    Does it come with and without polonium?

  71. H.R. says:

    Baltika 3 has the polonium, IIRC. ๐Ÿ˜œ

  72. Larry Geiger says:

    “Pelican Kayak Trailblazer 100 NXT” Looks good. Certainly a good price. And only 36lbs. That’s definitely a feature. I think that it might be a little small for me. I would probably prefer 12′ or 14′ but I like overnight trips also.

    When you get back to Florida:
    Go to Kings Landing and launch your boat. They will charge you for the ride back but it sure makes things easy. Very beautiful run and a good place to try things out. The run is called Rock Springs Run.

    Wekiva River north of Wekiva State Park. Rock Spring Run runs into the Wekiva right a Wekiva Springs. You can put in at the marina there and paddle north a while or all the way to the St. Johns. There is a takeout at High Banks Marina. You will need to paddle about a mile of the St. Johns so I recommend doing this on a weekday and not Saturday or Sunday. IMHO.

    Go a little further north to Juniper Springs. Same thing. Launch your kayak and they will bus you back from the landing. I’ve done this run many times (maybe 20) and I always love it.

    You can kayak down Alexander Springs but be careful about going too far because you have to come back against the current. Still one of the most beautiful springs and spring runs in the state.

    Go here. Campout overnight at the Outpost on Friday if you’re still working or any other day if retired. They will take you down to SR40 where Silver Springs Run joins the Oklawaha. Canoe back to the Outpost in one day or spend the night at Eaton Creek by the bluff. Nice spot.

    The Suwannee River is the classic canoe/kayak river. Choose your medicine. Fargo, GA to Steinhatchee, FL or lots of short and long paddles in between. The Suwannee has an official canoe run with water, fire rings and screened cabins. Google this. I have canoed the Suwannee many times but I’ve never used the official campsites. We always camp on the sandbars.

    People talk about the Everglades trails and Mosquito Lagoon. There is a reason they call it Mosquito Lagoon. Never go there except after a real hard freeze. IMHO. YMMV.

    DeLeon Springs just north of Deland. Lots of shallow water and water birds. If you are hearty you can paddle out to the St. Johns but then you have to paddle back.

    Econlockahatchee River. Just east of Orlando. Flows into the St. Johns.Put in at Snow Hill RD. Paddle down to the St. Johns and then a little north to where SR46 crosses the river. There is parking and a boat ramp there. No outfitters there so you have to use 2 vehicles.

    Blackwater Creek. Runs out of Seminole State Forest and into the St. Johns near where the Wekiva comes out. Same thing. Need another vehicle at High Banks.

    Over on the west side (Tampa) there are: Homossasa, Alafia, Hillsborough, Myakka River, Peace River, and Withlacoochee. I’ve paddled or tubed all of these, usually just once. Don’t get way over there as much. Review this:

  73. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, I thought so too, that’s why I bought it inside 24 hours… Though note that I did get “last year’s model” so mine is not 36 lbs but a horribly heavier 38 lbs! (Yeah, I didn’t care either ;-)

    Thanks for the shopping list of places to go. I’m shooting for an August trip there, and then about the following December a longer stay. All theoretical at this point, but that’s where you start…

    As I hate loath and despise mosquitoes, anything with that in the name is OFF my list. Thanks for the warning / heads up!

    I expect that any kayak time in Florida will involve me staying “in motion” (as gators like to do ambush attacks and if you are in motion are less likely – unless you pass right in front of them…) I’ll also have my Stainless Steel “Gator Pursueder” tanto machete in my lap…

    (And I’ll wait for someone who looks tastier than me to launch first ;-)

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