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Choosing A Boat/Plans

Posted by ozarkdrifter 
Choosing A Boat/Plans
June 17, 2019 02:05AM
I'm at the absolute beginning, trying to sort through the research stage, and figured I'd get some guidance right from the start in choosing the right plans for me. This will be my first boat build, and will be aided by my dad, and my thankfully (and hopefully) more qualified engineer brother. I'm based in Arkansas and spend all my free time fly fishing our tailwaters and small creeks/rivers for trout and smallmouth bass. 95% of the boat's life will be Class I/II water - a fishing boat first and foremost. I suspect I might pull it west at times, but generally wouldn't challenge water more than Class III and with that rarely. I've browsed the forum for a while now, and there's a few things that have become evident as "general consensus" I plan to heed. I want to use proven design ideas, as this is likely to be a long term project with long term use. I suspect with regards to consensus I'll try to use 3/4" Plascore for the bottom of the hull and 3/8" Meranti Hydrotek for the side panels. Our tailwaters in low flow, as well as our small creeks/rivers are shallow, slow-medium in speed, and do contain a fair bit of rocks. I currently row a Hog Island skiff with a Yamaha jet outboard. I'll be keeping this as it's an ideal set up for our tailwaters, but for low flow days and overnight smallmouth trips I'm interested in building my own boat that would be lighter with a shallower draft. And I smash quite a few rocks in the Hog..... While a skiff such as a Freestone would seem to make sense, I'm drawn to the lines of a more traditional drift boat, as well as we fish standing up 100% of the time and casting braces will be part of the plan. Looking through plans, the Kingfisher (or in Recurve style) is beautiful but a bit large for our smaller waters (maybe a second build.....). The Beavertail seems to be the right choice for me in that we will almost always fish with 3 (2 anglers/oarsman). I have looked at Cajune's Classic Guide, which appears to be similar in length but widened to 55" or so. I guess my question is this: "general consensus" also seems to be wider is more stable - should I choose a wider design such as the Classic Guide? I'm not sure if it's more of a design akin to the HD that won't trim well with a rear seated angler. If that's the case should an attempt be made to widen the Beavertail? I suspect that would distort the design and rocker and could get over my head. My dad is prone to enthusiastic casting....so having the wide bottom (54" on the Hog) has been handy. I have no doubt I'm overthinking things I know nothing about, but bottom line am in search of a stable not too heavy drift boat capable of rowing well with fore and aft anglers - you know, the Holy Grail! Thanks in advance for any advice, I'm excited!
Re: Choosing A Boat/Plans
June 17, 2019 12:25PM
RE "If that's the case should an attempt be made to widen the Beavertail? "

That would be fun project. I design all boats using adjustable ribs that hinge at the corners and spline in and out at the middle.

Make side panels with layout lines are regular intervals, with one such station in dead middle.

Make a stem.

Make a transom.

Fiddle with it until it looks right.

Straighten it up. Don't miss the straighten step. It is critical.

Put a square edged bottom panel (with center line top and bottom matching vertical centerlines on the trapezoid formers) on it and weight it down with buckets and tools. Trace out the edges. Take the bottom panel off the plug and cut to the line with a slightly slanted angle on the skill saw.

This is a blurry cell phone photo but it does show a typical adjustable rib-like former. Made from flake board.

If you made the middle rib-like trapezoid 56" inches or so wide (make that fixed trapezoid from chip board) the rest is just messing with it.

Designing with software is useful but you still don't know what hull will really look like until you mock it up full size. So software isn't worth that much. I'm a retired programmer. I did 3D data modeling with OpenInventor and OpenGL on expensive Silicon Graphics machines so I'm not intimidated by software. For me, for boat hulls it just isn't worth the hassle because I know I'm going to mock it up full size anyway, so I can REALLY see what it actually looks like. I always tweak it repeatedly. Walk away. Think about it. Mess with it some more.

Then one day I look at my full-size mockup and say "That's it." And then I make a boat out of it. Software be damned.
Re: Choosing A Boat/Plans
June 17, 2019 06:12PM
I require assistance for faxing......so I'm with you on the software vs. mock up. I guess if I were to widen the Beavertail to 56", the side panels would need to be lengthened or dished out to keep the rocker from becoming too steep and shortening the boat considerably. That's where the mock up and adjustments would come in handy, adjust here & there and see. Would like to keep the panels to 16' so probably means a little dishing out and transom widening. So with the "Classic Guide" on Jason Cajune's website, is that basically what he's already done or is that more of a Honky Dory / MacKenzie style boat that won't row as well with an aft-seated angler? I'm not opposed to some experimentation, but as a first time builder and long time dummy I need all the help I can get!!
Re: Choosing A Boat/Plans
June 17, 2019 07:42PM
Jason's a cool guy who makes excellent boats. But I've never actually rowed any of his boats so I can't answer any questions about them.

The Beavertail as it is does not have a dished out chine. It does have a symmetrical bottom so it does trim well with a rear-seated fisherman.

If you kept it the same length but widened it mostly in the middle it would be a new boat, new design. You probably would have to dish the chine some. For a first time builder you might be better off building from fixed dimensions. I built my first boat from plans. And then went to DIY from there after.
Re: Choosing A Boat/Plans
June 17, 2019 08:47PM
Much appreciated Sandy. That's where my head was too, building from set plans as to not get into a new design element and get in over my head. The Beavertail continues to sound like the right boat for me considering the proven design to accommodate the aft-seated fisherman, as that's critical for how I typically fish. Thanks again for all the advice!
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