Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Chosen One.The Boat Plans For Me.

I here by reserve the right to change my mind, (like I change underwear,at least once a month) on the boat I plan to build.

In my last post,"Deciding On A Boat To Build",I gave a vague idea of what I want in a boat.There are so many pros and cons to building a boat by yourself,that it is nearly impossible to list them all.Any boat bought or built is nothing more than a series of compromises,unless money is no object or you simply want it to float.I started with my main compromise and worked back from there.You're probably thinking,"what would be the main compromise?"That would be the ability to trailer the boat, without legal implications, behind a full size pick up truck,van,or class C RV.My state,and most states, the legal width allowed is 8 feet 6 inches and a combined length of 65 feet with a maximum height of 13 feet.With this information,I know I want a boat that has an 8 foot six inch beam or narrower, and as long as possible.Over the years,my research has shown that most boats with a beam around 8'6" are between 25 and 30 feet in hull length.Don't confuse this with length over all.Swim platform and the bowsprit/pulpit contribute to the boats total length.After searching and searching some more.I found Spira International.He has many viable boats with a beam at 8'6" or narrower.Good thing about his site,he has the study plans right there in PDF for all to view.He will design a boat specifically for you,but you must be serious and ready to buy the plans.His plans are for the average DIY guy with a local lumber yard or home improvement store.I like to refer to his plans as "every day man's boat plans".They are fairly fast to build, and simple to construct with basic construction materials.He even has a video and ebook on how to build his boats.You can use top shelf marine grade materials and dress your boat up in polish and varnish if you wish.Nothing wrong with that at all.I prefer a more low key working boat appearance.


I studied Spira's site and really considered what I wanted in a boat.I have to have a full stand up head with shower,enclosed cabin,and galley.With the health issues and medications I take,I can't be in the sun or heat for long periods without getting sick.I only want a small rear deck for fishing from so a larger than usual cabin can be built.All this adds up and makes the boat heavier affecting the boat's draft.I need a hull that has a flat bottom and a draft of around 12 to 16 inches with the lower unit out of the water.A flat bottom allows the boat to sit flat on the ground when the tide runs out.I will get more into this in a later post.Shallow draft is a must here.Our area is prone to sudden shoaling.I don't mean going from deep to shallow water in a short distance.I mean the bottom will silt up and become shallow over night, or after a freak down pour.Ask me how I know,but I rather you didn't.


 Another issue is propulsion.Most areas around me have banned two stroke outboards.Only the newer two stroke OBs with EPA approval can get the OK to be on the lakes.Four strokes are a non issue.Both are very expensive still,especially around here where two strokes are banned.The only viable option for me is stern drive,straight inboard,or V drive.The least expensive option for me is a stern drive.They are also referred to as I/Os or inboard outboards.I can usually find them in complete boats in good condition from $1000 to $5000.Buying a complete donor boat insures that I get everything needed to make my boat go.I will get more into this in another post.

I looked at a number of Spira designs in the 25 to 30 foot length.Most of Spira's designs are based on dories of different locales around the US.I live in South Carolina and went straight to looking at the Spira Carolina dories.They really are wonderful boats but they have narrow bows and taper to a fairly narrow transom.This kills interior volume compared to other dory designs.However,he does have a design with a layout that I really like,just wish it was beamier.That boat is the 27 foot Bahaman.The layout can be found on page two of the study plans.I have decided to go with the Bahaman cabin and layout.

The other boats I considered were.
24 foot Clamente-This boat was to small over all but would make a great weekender or fishing boat for the family.
27 foot Chubasco-This boat would be good compromise and could still happen.
27 foot Newfie St.Pierre dory-This boat is to small but they are beautiful,have great fuel economy,and get attention.
25 foot Kona Hiwaiian Sam Pan-These boats are solid,but have a center keel and deeper draft than I prefer.
27 foot Cane River-This boat is an option for me.It has a shape that is a little more time consuming and difficult to build.
27 foot San Miguel-This boat is a serious option and gets good fuel economy.The down side is the center keel.
27 foot Sitka-This is the boat I chose.I will build it to 30 feet with a V entry bow as shown on the plans.

The deal with center keels,is they do not allow the boat to sit flat when the tide runs out and the running gear can be damaged if the boat is allowed to sit on it's bottom.

Why I chose Sitka.If you look at the study plans,you will see that the boat has a rounder bow and the sides run straight back to the transom.This design allows for maximum room in the largest space.It can be stretched to 30 feet with a V entry bow.This is my intention.The bottom is dead flat with no rocker(curve) from bow to stern.This makes for a very shallow running hull.This hull was designed specifically for outboard power.However,I contacted Jeff Spira,and when I start building,he is going to advise me on how to build the stern to accept a stern drive set up.I think I will be the first to build this design to these specs.I will be purchasing my plans early spring 2013 and hope to start building soon after.While this design will not get the best fuel economy,it will have room and the ability to carry large amounts of weight.The V entry bow will help with fuel economy since the boat will spend most of it's time running displacement speed.

My next post will deal with build costs and planning.I will break down the cost of a few of the bigger boats,including the one I plan to build.


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