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, June 24, 2009

The New Mistress

Yes, I’m courting a new lady, but only as a stepping stone. I’ve really been inspired by Bryan’s Blog about his Micro Shanty. He has designed and is building a neat little 8’ boat with a cabin for overnighting. How fun!

I was also encouraged by a post over on the Puddle Duck Yahoo Group from Bill Giles:

To all you lurkers out there,

I know you have never even thought about building a boat before. It is a really scary thought. And a sailing rig is even worse. What could happen? You could get wet. Do yourself a favor. Cut out 2 sides glue on the front and back, stick the bottom on, mount some oar locks and throw a 1 by board across the top and row what you just created or even use a paddle. The first time you push off from shore in a "boat" of your own creation you will be hooked forever! Understand all of the hard part has already been thought out. This thing works. There are over 300 of them floating around the world and that number is growing rapidly. Jump in with both feet (but not in the boat itself). I promise that no matter what happens you will not regret it. I have met many of the people here and they have told me their stories about the first time. It is worth it. You will never go back. You will amaze yourself. Even Andy Lynn sailed 200 miles in one of these and most people swore he would never go anywhere.

I need a nap now.


While I’ve really enjoyed the thought process in designing and drawing my Joli, I also realize that I want to get on the water. I follow the Oregon Coots vicariously through the internet but I think it’s time to “get real” ;-) They’re having so much fun getting together at various locations for their messabouts.

The Joli is going to be a wonderful shanty cruiser for me. It will have the size and comfort that will make it a great boat for longer trips. However, I’m not willing to wait.

I’m currently reading 3 Years in a 12 Foot Boat by Steve Ladd. This book got me to thinking about what I could do on a smaller scale to get me on the water.

I’ve also been following the exploits of a group of sailors competing in the Texas 200. An amazing feat in any boat, but these guys did it in 8’ Puddle Ducks. Wow! Some might call them real Duck Heroes.

The PDRacer site is jamb packed with information including notes about scaling up the design.

All of the things I’ve mentioned above have led me towards designing and building a 12’ shanty boat. I’m going to call the design a PDCruiser. It will have a center cockpit and will be set up to row, sail, and will include a small auxiliary outboard. The forward cabin will have a full sliding hatch with sides that will slide backwards to enclose the center cockpit. The rear cabin will contain a small galley and other storage. When the hatch is slid backwards, the cabin will be 7’ long, 44” wide, and 42” high at the tallest end.

In case you’re wondering if this virtual boat builder ever gets his hands dirty; Yes, I just finished building our front porch out of recycled cedar deck boards. I just love it!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Boat is an Island

My wife Tina and I just spent 11 wonderful days wandering through the back country of Oregon with our vintage camp trailer. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Yahoo!

Here’s a link to some of the pictures on Facebook if you’re interested.

I had intended to use some of this “down time” to get some more designing done on the Joli, but as you can see from the pictures, we were having too much fun to be staring at a computer screen ;-)

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t spend at least a part of every waking hour thinking about my boat. One can’t help but think on these things once you’ve been bitten by the bug.

Our trailer is about 13.5 feet long on the interior. That means that there has to be a place for everything, and everything needs to be in it’s place. That also means that there needs to be some routine so daily tasks can get completed. Things like bathing, brushing teeth, getting dressed, having that first important cup of coffee, and eating meals.

Any space in a 13’ trailer needs to be multi use space, so the timing of tasks as well as the conversion of space needs to be well orchestrated.

There are also limited resources within 13’. You can only pack so much food, or have so much water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. And that water has to collect somewhere after you use it. You’re also limited on what power is available. The battery will only last so long and then it’s time to hook up to “shore power”. The propane is also limited. Periodically you have to stop and get the bottles refilled.

All of these things would apply to a boat also. In fact, I think they may be more important on a boat. I spent our time camping thinking about how often I stepped outside of the trailer to do something.

How often did we use the bathroom in the campground? Sure it was just a pit toilet, but it was still out of the trailer. How about cooking on the barbeque or maybe washing hands? Or how often did we step out to sit in the lawn chair to “just get away” or maybe to find a nice place in the sun to do a little reading?

How often did I step outside to drain the dirty water? How often did I go to the water pump to get more water? How often did I get into the truck to get more supplies?

There isn’t much opportunity to do those things in a boat. You see, a boat really is an island. It has to be self contained. I felt like we were already experiencing that with our trailer. After all, it’s “self contained” and we’re usually “dry camping”, without any hook-ups. But during this trip I really realized how much more these things apply when you’re on a boat.

This post isn’t about conclusions or solutions, but rather just a little thinking out loud.

I did get a little further on my virtual build. The boat is back down to a width of 7.5 feet. I felt that this would allow it to sit lower on the boat trailer since it can sit between the tires and fenders this way. I know that I’ll lose some interior space but I think it’s an important compromise to make.

I received a nice letter this week from Myke who lives in Colorado. He’s building a neat shanty camp trailer and is already looking at his next project. Maybe it will be a nice Joli boat.

Hopefully, I can get back to some more drawing soon, or maybe it’s time to go boating! Sounds like Bryan is doing well on his micro shanty and he’s pretty confident he’ll have it ready for our excursion next month. I’m so excited!