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Designing your own boat

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Designing your own boat
May 29, 2013 08:02PM
--> NewHullDesigns <-- This is the original thread head
Re: Designing your own boat
March 22, 2015 12:44AM
Had a great opportunity to buy a used Hyde skiff till the owner decided to keep it at the last minute. So I've decided to build one with some friends and I like the style of the new Hyde Montana skiff. Have any members built a skiff that they would like to share a pic or two to give me some ideas and suggestions to use here in our Michigan waters? Very much appreciated.

Re: Designing your own boat
April 06, 2015 08:00PM

Though I will be building the Honky Dory this Fall I was given a bare boat fiber glass hull. It is 15'-center line, 16'-along gunwale, mid-height-25", bottom width-46" and beam-58". So it does not have much flair and is boxy but has good drift boat rocker. If I built the acceptable canyon type water tight compartments would this boat be too narrow for Grand Canyon? I'm on a trip in August. I am an experienced rower and kayaker and have rowed the canyon 5 times in a 13' cataraft. Thanks for your input. DANA
Re: Designing your own boat
April 17, 2015 11:01PM
46" inches is awful narrow. It will be side-to-side tippy. Sorry I missed this post. Not sure how long it's been here.

Most Grand Canyon Dories are 48" inches and (in my not so humble opinion) way too narrow at 48" inches. Nearly all of them are derived from the Jerry Briggs design. Martin Litton wanted him to build a Grand Canyon Dory. Jerry Briggs was making standard 15' foot long by 48" inches wide open fishing dories. One or two GC dories was't going to be particularly good business for him so he did it, but did it in the quickest way possible. He added a four foot flat spot in the middle of a much smaller boat. So he stretched his boat out to longer without making it wider. Sort of like chopping his 15' footer apart in the middle and then splicing it back together again the easiest possible way.

GC dory design hasn't changed much since then.

But wider is better. At least according to me. I've never been down the Grand Canyon so my credibility is low on this issue. But I have great confidence in my opinions--even if no one else does :=))

I'm slowly getting geared up to make a 17' foot decked white water boat myself. I'll be closer to 60" inches wide. Maybe even 64" inches wide.
Re: Designing your own boat
April 19, 2015 11:46PM
Thanks Sandy. I figured as much, just wishful thinking. I'll be going with my raft and start on the Honky Dory this fall. Thanks a million for this great site.
Re: Designing your own boat
June 30, 2015 02:04PM
One more thought about wider boats.

The original McKenzie River Boat--what ever it is--Woodie Hindman or maybe even earlier--has been described as a perfect example of "Form Follows Funcion."

It is that to some degree. But it's also a good example of Form Follows Material Convenience. Plywood is 4x8 in this country. If you splice two sheets together you get a 4x16 panel (minus two inches or so). The original boats were all made from 4x16 side stock. 4' by roughly 12' foot bottom. All because plywood made those numbers the easiest to deal with.

So those original boats were all 48" inches wide by roughly 15' feet long. When people started clamoring for a bigger boat Oregon builders scaled those original numbers up proportionately. If you scale 15 up to 17 you need a 1.13 multiplier. 48 times 1.13 is 54. That's why ALL 17 foot boats are 17 feet long and 54 inches wide. It's the same boat as the original, scaled up slightly.

The Honky Dory started off as a 15' foot boat with a 56" inch bottom. That is wide. Scale that up to 17' and you get a 63" inch bottom. I tell people that and they recoil in despair. 64"???? That can't possibly work. That's too wide they say.

But Cyrus Happy has built some giant boats for the Deschutes, made from 20' foot panels, that are something like 69" inches wide across the bottom. They row like a dream for their size. To find out what really works you have to have guts. You have to take chances and also take your lumps. I've had many experiments that didn't work. Wider drift boats are one experiment that has worked out well. Very well. I'm still one of the few, if not the only one, who makes PROPORTIONATELY very wide boats. My one man boat is 54" inches wide and 9' feet long.

It rows circles around any other oar powered river craft ever made. Well OK I don't know that. But it's way better than any I ever rowed. My decked big water boat will be at least 64" inches wide. Maybe even bigger.
Re: Designing your own boat
April 05, 2019 10:45PM
Anything is possible. Wood allows a builder freedom to do whatever you can think up. Some ideas are good.... Some ideas you learn. Either is a good thing.

Re: Designing your own boat
April 06, 2019 01:03PM
Re: Designing your own boat
October 08, 2019 01:31PM
Whoa, these are beautiful and they're similar to what I've been dreaming about. How do they row?
Re: Designing your own boat
December 10, 2019 01:32AM
+1 on a lot of the points here. I probably shouldn't post in this thread because I failed the security question of 14+14. :) All that reading about multiples of plywood dimensions.

1) Main reasons to design your own boats is that the design you need isn't out there. My first boat and self-design was a canoe. Back then you could build a strip boat to look good, or you could buy an advanced design, not both. Still a bit true in that segment. Other good reason is because you want to learn to design. Bad reasons abound

2) I agree about the plywood module. I built a Kurt Hughes trimaran at one point, and it turned out he could not care less about the module. I was so angry when I realized he had built the sides of the cabin 4 inches longer than 2 sheets scarfed. But it broke me of caring.

3) History is full of people who had a good idea and got it right on the second try. I figure you have to be up for that. Of course history is about real trailblazers, and often even innovative designs today have enough close relatives you can nail it out of the box.

I'm looking to build a drift skiff, as the rivers that I fish are pretty small water, and a straighter run is easier to row.
Re: Designing your own boat
December 10, 2019 01:44AM
About 10 years ago I became aware that a lot of my favourite designers used PlyBoats, still. It is a pain because of the zero user interface, and the fact it is DOS based. But it does bang out reliable designs pretty quickly. The originator was working on a version for Windows, and I called him to ask about it, and I mentioned the industry was going over to 63 bit. I think I might have killed him. He was in his 80s, and the line kinda went dead. Never heard anything from him since.

The big advantage to CAD on simple designs where the build is obvious, is the hydro. If you have two guys who want a boat to fish out of and one of them is 300 pounds and the other is 140, you need more than a shear that looks nice. You need some reliable hydro. Thank goodness that kind of problem only comes up often. :)
Re: Designing your own boat
December 10, 2019 01:21PM
I wanted to build a Garvey or Dory with rocker for use on the Delaware and had settled on the fact that certain 10' pram/tender would work well. I sorted through al the older stuff I had found from Duckworks, GlenL, Bolger, o'brien, Devlin and more.

Then I saw a drift boat behind a car in heavy traffic on I95 in Wilmington DE. That is when I started looking at drift boats. They are to some degree purpose built for exactly what my needs are. Mine rows terribly inefficiently but turns and handles well around rocks in fast water.
Re: Designing your own boat
January 20, 2020 09:57PM
Designing your own boat is not all that difficult. It just takes time to model what you are trying to accomplish. I went to CAD.com and posted a contest for a drift boat deisgn. I basically sketched the idea out on paper, then posted a contest for the best 3D model of that idea. I had over 20 entries. A guy out of of Texas had a great model he created on Solidworks. He won my boat design contest for $150. Afterward, I asked him to pull the measurements from his 3D model to make a 2D set of working plans. He charged me an addition $400 for the dimensions of the hull in 2D. At the end of the experience, I had working hull plans of whatever was in my mind, for $550. I thought that was a great deal. Then I sent those drawings and specs to a local Cabinet maker who has a CNC machine. They cut and laid out all my hull peices for $250 more. Smooth process. Now I can call the cabinet maker, and say, "cut me the pieces for another boat". Scarf joints included!! 3 days later I have all the stuff. Pretty cool actually.
Re: Designing your own boat
November 10, 2020 04:45PM
"I'm slowly getting geared up to make a 17' foot decked white water boat myself. I'll be closer to 60" inches wide. Maybe even 64" inches wide."

Have you considered the down side of a boat that big?

Have you thought about how much beer people like Dave and I could load into that boat while you are not looking.
Re: Designing your own boat
November 11, 2020 03:27AM
I've thought about that Larry. Maybe I'll re-design my latest boat, in progress, for one rower, one passenger............and a doberman?

I can still only work 3-4 hours a day. I'm getting there but it's slow. At my current rate of progress I'll be fully recovered in 20 years. I'm 72 now so things are looking up.

I'll bolt my hull together Friday, or maybe this weekend. I'm thinking hard about the cooler. I don't want to put it under a hatch. I think I'll make an open-topped cooler well that drains straight down like the foot-well in my little Dayak. The front passengers can sit on the cooler. Maybe with a Paco Pad on top. I have a white Igloo cooler I bought at Costco that's about four feet wide. It was too wide to fit in a 15' foot Honky Dory but it will fit nicely in the Whale Rider.

I thought about calling this boat the San Wanderer after that May trip a year and a half ago. But I'm sticking with Whale Rider for this one. Does this mean I have to design as yet one more boat? So I can use the San Wanderer name?

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