The future of drift boats and river skiffs
August 02, 2018 02:14PM
Fwiw my current direction is plywood still skinned in glass, but where (almost) nothing is glued. All parts screw together over either a gasket or a thick bead of roofer's caulk--so any and every part can be replaced. In the old days skid shoes were popular on the bottom. The idea was to replace the skid shoe periodically in order to protect the bottom panel, because that was glued to the ribs and nearly impossible to replace.

That's the idea. Screw all parts together with Torx screws and (marine grade) caulk. Now you don't need a skid shoe. Just replace the bottom every ten years. Glass makes side panels so much stronger I'll glass them up. But they will NOT be glued at the seams. Everything will go together with screws and caulk.

Has that boat been made? I'm working on it. In traditional framed boats, if a side panel gets hopelessly fractured it's hard to remove if it's been glued to the ribs. If everything goes together with Torx screws everything can come apart. In a jiffy.

After 30 years of fiberglass work I'm heading back to all wood. Or close to it anyway. I might use a little glass here and there.

Change is good. Change is more interesting. I'm interested in decked all-wood boats, with only a few (removable) interior bulkhead partitions. And no ribs'a no kind. The only good ribs are the barbequed kind.

Think about it. Even if you build a low-sided square ended skiff, if it's decked you can still run Yankee Jim Canyon or Whitehorse rapids. It's low so the wind won't torture you on the Deschutes. A decked low-sided skiff could run the Grand Canyon. Tom Martin does it all the time with his little GEM.

Plenty of storage below the deck. Comfortable seats and optional standing/casting braces on top. Open boats don't make sense to me anymore. The original McKenzie boats had high sides so an OPEN boat could run big water. But then they're wind sails. Then they're hard to get into and out of. It just doesn't make sense.

Decked is where it's at. The Dayak convinced me of that.
RDF
Re: Rambling thoughts about the future of drift boats and river skiffs
August 02, 2018 09:01PM
How about a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) river skiff? Or would it RIB river raft? Anyway, same idea as an RIB yacht dingy but the bottom is river skiff profiled. A hard bottom for stiffness but permanently attached inflatable tubes for secondary stability, rock bumping, and reserve buoyancy. The tubes don’t do much of anything in flat water but, they make the boat perform like a raft in big waves.
I’ve been wondering how to go about building that prototype…
Re: Rambling thoughts about the future of drift boats and river skiffs
August 02, 2018 10:05PM
Sounds good. Like a Zodiac River Dory? That would be cool too.
Re: The future of drift boats and river skiffs
April 05, 2019 07:03PM
There are some boat builder Rendevous events that don't allow anything but pure wood. No glass. No Plascore etc
All wood and screws only. Pretty awesome
Re: The future of drift boats and river skiffs
December 10, 2019 04:30AM
I am moreso going in the opposite direction, towards corecell. I have built a lot of plywood and strip boats, and they last great, but they need someone who "gets it", and isn't sick, divorced, or otherwise distracted to take care of them as they should be.

I was in a major accident and had to replace 10 feet at the back of my sailboat because before the accident, I left a pihi held in with drywall screws. Water got in. I didn't get back at it fo 5 years. The whole rear deck and cockpit had to be remade. I was OK with that as I do that kind of thing. But plastic boats can tolerate an owner with minimal skills.

Different deal. I'm sixty and some day everything will belong to my daughters. It's not looking good. :)

One thing I have done is run keels or strips out of solid epoxy and glass. I use that technique plasterers use where they put in place an alignment strip, then run a mold (plywood cutout), sculpting plaster into a crown molding, or whatever. Takes several shots, but you get a solid epoxy stringer, or keel. I glass that, then I can run screws holding aluminum flat into the epoxy without any risk of water getting into the plywood skin. It will take some wear.

If I can get it, I will use solid pulltruded fiberglass for the rub strips.
Re: The future of drift boats and river skiffs
December 10, 2019 01:26PM
Keep us posted. Images are cool. I need to learn how to do video in my old age
Re: The future of drift boats and river skiffs
August 29, 2021 08:57PM
Sandy,

Are you still suggesting the caulk and Torx fasteners method or have you reverted to scarfing, glass, epoxy? I like the serviceability of the Torx screw and caulk but had to wonder if this is actually 'dated' material in view of the posting date.

Rick
Re: The future of drift boats and river skiffs
August 30, 2021 03:01AM
RAVC I'm slow. I'm 73 and sloooooooooooooowly recovering from Long Covid. I get 4 hours to work each day max. I can't rush around working like a daemon like I used to......as recently as two years back. So I'm getting there but I'm slow.

I'm building an experimental boat. I've built good boats and my share of duds too. You never know how it's going to row until you row it.

This boat is made with side panels 18' feet 9" inches long. It's a big boat. The bottom is 66" inches wide in the middle. Moderate rocker in the middle, Much more rocker out near the ends.

The bottom and 8" inches up the side is molded fiberglass, over a 3/4" Plascore core. The sides are 3/8" inch Meranti Hydrotek. This will be a decked white water boat. A Grand Canyon dory.

Almost everything is bolted or screwed together over thick marine caulk. The removable deck will hinge down over a 1" thick foam gasket.

I'm optimistic. I think this will be a good boat. But like I said. You don't never know until you row it.



Most of the horizontal cross-pieces in this photo are temporary formers that will disappear after the deck is made.

Re: The future of drift boats and river skiffs
August 30, 2021 11:43AM
Ah. RAVC's question about scarfing and fiberglass on my experiment boat.

I have no ban on fiberglass. I might use it some on the deck. I want the main components of the boat to be replaceable. Stitch and glue is great but it is the opposite. With stitch and glue the entire boat becomes one contiguous structure. If something breaks it can likely be patched but it's not so easy to actually replace it.

I put an experimental molded fiberglass shoe on the bottom of this boat. That doesn't necessarily make sense. If the bottom can be replaced why not use 1/2" plywood and swap it out every five years?

I don't always make sense. Just ask my wife.
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