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I have sailed and kayaked for quite a few years, but now I am getting tired of all the sailboat rigging hassles and I am getting a little old to kayak for long distances. But "the water" is still in my soul, so I am thinking about a small powerboat. The obscene prices for small runabouts around here ($12-14,000) have encouraged me to do some reserch. So I am asking for your advice for an economical alternative.
My need is a stable boat to carry 2-4 people on fairly smooth waters (the Intracoastal in FL), perhaps in the 12-14 ft. range with a v-hull and a flat-bottomed stern for starters. What would you recommend -- fiberglass, aluminum, inflateable, what size and kind (2 or 4 stroke) of motor, and perhaps certain brands that have proved to be realiable.
Build you one. A wooden boat is Great. For anything heavy like a wide long boat I would use 3/8 ext ply. I would think 14 feet long 4 or 5 feet wide would be plenty. The flat bottom type are easy to build. Some people think they need a v bottom forward but, when the boat planes it runs on the flat bottom aft anyway. Make the sides atleast 16 inches deep and the transom 16 inches deep or cut a notch for the motor unless you have a long foot. Long motors need 20 inch transoms and short need 16 inches max depth transoms. IF the transom slopes at all it must be longer than sides are deep to match the angle of the slope. You can make the sides deep as you like as long as the motor foot reaches deep enough into the water. Slope the sides outward slightly IF you intend to be in rough water and use a motor strong enough to get you on plane. I like to plane on dangerous water. It beats boggin down in the waves. I would consideer making my sides square if I were using a 5 hp engine or less on a boat 48 inches wide with 16 inch deep sides 14 feet long. A good 9.5 will do the trick well. NOT to fast but fast enough to scare me. Square sides and a scow bow are a little bit easier to build. Go to msn groups.smallboats and take a look at the Q&E#2. That is only 8 feet long and 32 inches wide. It is a scow but the aft end could be built with a LOT less angle and a motor could be used. A boat like that is easy to build. If you will be in really rough water your boat could be 6 or 7 feet wide. Use a big enough motor to get it on plane but NOT real fast and be careful in the turns and you got a nice boat. I have noticed that square of boxy boats tend to be a little rubbery. You know, they have some flex, twist like a shoe box. The end decks on my scow and side decks on a big boat would take care of that. Boats that taper in at the front and aft tend to be more rigid. I am in the process of desiging a boat 7 or 8 feet wide, 24 inches deep, and 16 feet long. Have not yet decided IF It will have sloping sides or not. I have seen a boat called a Brick that does well with square sides. Look at the Shanty boats. Most have square sides. Sloping sides may help the boat to jump up when a wave hits it from the sides and I am told they help the boat NOT flip over in a fast tight turn. The boat I am desiging will be easy to build and I can give you the plans for free IF you want a boat that big. I like big. I have small and I like small also but for big waters, swift, or rough choppy waters, I like big. I intend to use my big boat on Red River and for camping and night fishing. It will take 7-9 sheets of ply to build. The ply is gone sky high so I may wait another year before building it.
Here is a link to a previous discussion on this message board that may have some value... Small fiberglass boats are expensive, so are any inflables that behave like a hard bottomed boat. There really is no small deep sided, v-hull, flat stern boats out there that we are aware of, thus an aluminum hull at a reasonable price might be a choice. Click the link below for more...
Suppose a plywood boat kit -- like the little Pacific Dory at the top of the page -- (click below) were available... Would you be willing to purchase and build?
Good luck in your search. Let us know what you find!
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