OK, before you get all over me about being in the "real" world, just give me a minute to explain ;-)

I bought a set of plans for the Joli boat from Philip Thiel. Unfortunately, this is not the right "season" in my life to really start building a boat. So, should I just wait and dream, or should I make some kind of forward progress?

My intent here is to keep a journal of my progress. I'll be using Google Sketchup to build my virtual boat. I'm sure that along the way I'll run across problems that need solving, trouble keeping on task, and moments of inspiration.

I'll include pictures and video as I progress. Click on any picture if you'd like to see it larger.

Maybe I'm crazy, but follow along and see what you think

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hull Shape

The Joli is shaped like a barge or a scow. This has at least two great advantages. It’s easier to build with flat sides and a flat bottom as well as providing enormous interior space. Ok, maybe enormous is a bit of an exaggeration, but compared to lets say a sailboat, the Joli has much more room in the same 23 feet.

I am concerned however, about two things that I see as a disadvantage. A flat bottom hull doesn’t move through the water but rather over the water. This tends to create a slapping sound when encountering waves. Now I know that Philip designed the Joli boat for calm waters so this may not be an issue. I plan to use the boat for camping at our many mountain lakes here in Central Oregon. I also intend to do some cruising on our larger rivers in Oregon, However; even on lakes and rivers, I’ll encounter waves from wind, tides, current, and other boaters. This slapping sound may interfere with an otherwise relaxing weekend. Secondly, and perhaps less important, has something to do with vanity. I want people to admire my “Yacht”. I think it should look like a “real” boat. Now this may not be fair to Mr. Thiel at all and it might reveal a character flaw on my part, but there it is, out in the open.

So what! Do I try to do something about this? Why make it harder to build? Why take away precious interior space? Because of this wonderful boat that Bryan Lowe found for me:

I just love how this boat looks. It makes me smile inside and out. I can just imagine how wonderful it would be to motor around in the Wee Spark. Could I modify the Joli hull somewhat to resemble this scale replica of an old canal workboat? Maybe I should start with Philip’s newest design, the Friend-Ship.

Larger Video

Maybe the bottom of the Joli can be left fairly flat but the sides could taper in to the bow. And maybe the transom could have a tight curve that would hide the outboard motor. Dick Mitsch built a wonderful mini tug using an idea like this. There was a great article in the Mar/Apr 2008 issue of Small Craft Advisor about Dick’s tug Sea-Weed.


Dick designed this boat himself based on, “how she should look”. He sketched it out on a piece of brown wrapping paper and then started building. She looks great in the water and she’s winning the hearts of her admirers. Now I’m not proposing that we can all go out and design our own boat, but in this case it worked out great. It turns out the boat is pretty seaworthy. Dick found this out one day while cruising on the Columbia River. A big 45 foot yacht went by at full speed which left Dick in its three-foot wakes. The tug handled it just fine.

Looks like I better get back to the drawing board. Let’s see what I can come up with for a hull modification on the Joli.

Just a quick note of thanks to the people that have taken such wonderful pictures for us to enjoy on the internet. It really is amazing and we owe them a debt of gratitude. Thanks!

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