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Freestone Classic Driftboat

Posted by richardsbehr 
Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 05, 2016 05:40PM
Has anybody built one of Jason Cajune's Freestone Classic Driftboats? After a couple of winters without a major project, last week I decided to build another driftboat. I purchased the plans for the Freestone Classic Driftboat. Overall the plans for Jason's boats are excellent but i do run into issues now and then. As i began to study the plans for the latest boat I found myself confused by the layout for the side panels. The attached annotated plan explains my question. I am waiting to hear back from Jason. In the meantime I thought I would post the question on the phorum as I am interested to find out who else has built this boat. As always, I appreciate any and all feedback.

Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 06, 2016 01:45AM
If your scarf uses up some of your plywood and it isn't 16' long Jason has documented what the measurements would be for the shortened panel. No I haven't built his boat but the cursive note was my clue.

Rick N
Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 06, 2016 12:04PM
Thanks for taking a look. The handwritten notes are my own. The plans call for just two sheets of 4x8 plywood for both the sides and the bottom, so i assume there is a measurement error for the side panel dimensions. I suspect all the measurements on the plan are correct but for one: the length of 12' 11" should be 12'8". However, I would like to be certain. If I don't hear back from Jason by tomorrow I'll send him a reminder.
Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 06, 2016 12:59PM
RE> Should it be 12' feet 8" inches to compensate for the scarf?

Maybe but that's a dimension that doesn't matter. Make the panel. Measure in from both ends the specified amounts to make front and rear, transom/stem ends. What's left in the middle is what ever it is.

The Freestone appears to be Jason's version of the original 15x48 McKenzie where you build the best boat you can using a diagonal cut down through the long axis of a 4x16 panel, made from two 4x8 sheets.

At 1' feet 9" inches Jason pulls that front stem area cut further back than most. He appears to be putting a curved transom at the upstream end too, as if the bottom of the boat suddenly bends upward to become part of the transom. I like that. I'm building that way myself right now. But I do the opposite with the front panel cut. I like to keep mine closer to straight up and down which makes it easier to bring more bottom width further forward. The more bottom width you have as far forward as possible the better the boat rides up onto standing waves.

Jason's boats appear to trim well with a rear-seated fisherman. That's good and that's unusual. The old Oregon McKenzie and Rogue River boats were shaped like Chinese soup spoons where they were way way wide up front but narrower at the tail. That was an artifact of how they got used. Oregon bait and plug pullers put two passengers on the front seat with no one behind the rower, so they didn't need much buoyancy in the rear end. But if you plan to do any fly fishing from your boat you do need a rear mounted passenger.

Jason's boats and mine are the only ones I know of designed to work in fly fishing mode. It's the better way to build because on ours you can still put two side by side up front if you want. All you have to do then is to move the rower's seat back a bit. But the Oregon boats cannot be made to work properly for fly fishing, because they just don't have enough width at the upstream end. No matter what.
Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 06, 2016 11:37PM
Sandy, Thanks very much for your explanation. While i may be a woodworker, i really don't understand much about boat design yet do like learning more about the whole business of hull design. Sounds like it will not be a problem if i just follow the plans and make adjustments at the stern as necessary when i stitching the panels to the bottom. I do hope to hear back from Jason. Tomorrow i order the plywood and next weekend i'll begin the build.
Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 06, 2016 11:42PM
Tungsten, Thanks for your thoughts. Please let me know if you find the posts. I know from personal experience that the freestone skiff requires ballast when i have a single client regardless of whether i put them in the bow or stern. This is likely a problem for me since at 150 lbs nearly all of clients out weigh.
Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 07, 2016 11:55AM
Tungsten it might have been one of my posts you are referring to. I built a freestone guide and was happy with it until I had someone in the back then the rowing became a lot of hard work with the upstream end lower in the water. You might be able to put it down to my lack of experience as a rower and the rear fisher not being aware of his weight placement in certain waters but in the end it was not worth keeping the rear fishing position. I have removed the rear seat and thigh brace freeing up movement within the boat it is now a nice two person boat. Another point of interest is that all Jason's boats have a flat spot with straight chines in the middle, I don't know because I have only ever rowed this boat but I know Sandy doesn't like this.
After rowing the freestone guide on the Goulburn river which is a mild tail race I don't think I would build a classic for two fishermen in the waters you guys have.
Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 07, 2016 12:53PM
RE> "I built a freestone guide and was happy with it until I had someone in the back then the rowing became a lot of hard work"

This is why small boats need a sliding adjustable rower's seat position and at least two oarlock positions, so the overall payload can be adjusted a bit. On my Beavertail and HD I recommend a slightly adjustable front seat position too. But even so some boats handle varying weight distribution better than others.

I like a boat that keeps width wide a fair distance either side of the middle and then bends back in sharply at the ends. Which helps a lot. On the other hand I don't like to go so far as a "flat spot" in the middle. I like boats with almost but not quite parallel chines in the middle, so there is still a widest spot, that I try to make equal to the boat's center of gravity, so it has a well defined turning axis.

The HD bends so sharply at the front you can't use 3/8" plywood for side panels unless you soak the plywood with wet rags for 24 to 48 hours before bending.
Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 07, 2016 03:14PM
I agree with Tungsten completely, about width and space and square ended boats. However. Square ended boats do have their drawbacks. They are not ideal for big water. I rowed AJ's big Rapid Robert on the McKenzie one April at the Vidalia boat show. There's not much big water there but there is some. We parked right below the big waves and anchored up in an eddy so we could photograph everybody else slamming head first into the biggest waves.

Getting there, for me, in the square ended boat was an eye opener. If you hit a big wave head on water comes right over the front and into the boat. So, for each new oncoming wave you have to cock the square end a bit sideways so you chop the wave with a front corner of the boat. It was fun. But not ideal for big water. Square ended boats are fishing boats for nothing bigger than fair-to-middlin white water.

I'm getting more into white water in my old age. Just for its own sake. The good fishing runs have too many boats and too many bozo yoyos anymore. In summer anyway.
Re: Freestone Classic Driftboat
November 14, 2016 01:08AM
Good evening. Thanks again for all the responses. I learn a little something more with each boat. Not too difficult given my level of knowledge when it comes to boat building. I heard back from Jason about the plans. Seems i had forgotten that marine plywood often comes in sheets that are one or two inches longer than 8 feet. My plywood arrived on Friday and sure enough it's 98" so I can make a 16 foot sheet. As for the "conflicting" measurements, Jason told me that either will work it just depends on how one wants to make the bow. He said many like a lower bow because it will result in a lower sheer.
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