A Modest Proposal – Parts 2.1 and 2.2

by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

Dan’s plan

“We’re talking stuff like half-inch MDO, quarter-inch ACX, buckets of PL Premium, and a smallish amount of Duck’pox and glass tape.”

A Modest Proposal – Part 2.1


And, so it begins. Again.

With due respect to Mr. Devlin; I’m only borrowing his promotional drawing for Millie Hill simply for illustrative purposes. Sam’s shanty boat cabin is really more angular and in-your-face than what I’m thinking for the next Frankenbot offering. But, the break to the coach roof and the cambers of the overhead are close. I will begin with the foundation of a quite seaworthy hull.

This new craft will need to obediently follow her future tug, Miss Kathleen, and take whatever conditions are thrown their collective way. I figure to build fast. And, light. The interior will be rudimentary-at first, anyway. The exterior will be workboat/paint grade, at best. No exposed brightwork. Not, this time. I’ll have to settle for cute. Beautiful is beyond the design brief. This bunkhouse-barge-to-be will probably suffer from bouncing off things, sitting out in the elements, and extended periods of uncovered storage.

We’re talking stuff like half-inch MDO, quarter-inch ACX, buckets of PL Premium, and a smallish amount of Duck’pox and glass tape. Windows are still up for grabs. Square-and-household windows really, REALLY irk me. Arched tops and port holes can go a long way toward keeping up the “Cute Boat” tradition so firmly established by her Frankenbot forebears.

The basic design brief is pretty, well, basic. Standing headroom in the galley and head. Comfortable sitting headroom forward in the dinette and settee area. That latter spot should be well ventilated and windowed for the benefit of folks either lounging at anchor/pier-side-or underway, in “travel trailer” mode. RV style conveniences, such as standard commode and sink/shower. A decent cooktop and ice box. A sink big enough to actually wash dishes. Tanks, pumps, and such.

Basically, we’ve got a 6 x 15 rectangle footprint to stick all the people stuff into. There’s a couple feet left over for anchors, ladders, motors, and all that boaty stuff. There’s about 5-6 feet of that 15 to divide up among outside sitting and outside steering cockpits. I do think it makes sense to have the ability to be self-propelled, even if the primary mission profile is limited to being towed.

This is getting to be really old hat, around the Frankenwerke. I’ve completely lost track of how many hulls have been reduced to empty boxes before taking on a new identity. But, being rectangular, this one will be the easiest to modify. It only took about an hour to get seats, interior woodwork, gas tank, batteries and all that jazz shucked out onto the floor.

Motor and outdrive are almost next.

Then, just maybe this little girl will be getting light enough to be pushed around the service bay with a little less huffing and puffing on my part. Hope so.

And, so it begins.


A Modest Proposal – Part 2.1

I think there is a moment in each of these sorts of project, where you could say, “The calm before the storm.” Something like this.

Most of the easily removable stuff has been ripped out and chucked. Often with only minimal ceremony. The hull is laid open. But, the majority of rotted wood, cracked and cintered vinyl, and corroded metal has yet to see the light of day. And, so it was, a few hours back with this one, as well.

All along, I’ve had a pretty good (or in this case, bad) idea what was below that 60’s vintage yellow vinyl sheet. This ain’t rocket science. In fact, I hit upon a pretty low tech method of moving forward. A garden shovel.

I just shoved it through the floor and dug a small “test well.”

The brown garden mulch lookalike was a sheet of plywood. Maybe as recently as when Jimmy handed the keys for the Lincoln bedroom over to Ronnie. Since then, the sorta’ thin layer of polyester resin and glass matt spread over it to keep water out, has done an exemplary job of keeping it IN. The flotation foam, chunks out pretty well with that same garden implement. It’s wet too, and must contribute to the weight of this ol’ girl in a most startling manner. It breaks out much like the meat of a coconut. Sometimes in big blocks. Sometimes in splinters and dust. The hull-stiffening stringers and engine bearers have also returned to dust and bite-sized pieces. Once exposed, they take on a “forest floor” character. Basically, that foam has been holding the boat together for decades.

The substance of my modest proposal is quite literally this hull’s only viable salvation, now. Absolutely NOBODY would undertake to restore this boat to “speed boat” levels of structural integrity. Way too expensive for a boat with such an inherently low resale value. Tri-hulls were never real popular, and now they are just thought of as “old.” That ol’ GM 250 is a bit shy on its horsepower per pound of engine weight numbers – compared to more modern V-blocks. And, it takes up a whole half-acre of space, as well.

I’m disappointed that I destroyed that engine with a small dab of winter ice. But, it happened. Now we take a short break, and see if we can still stand. This phase will need about another half-day to get the hull cleaned out and ready for some new floorboards. I’m starting to get a little enthused. I’m starting to see what this could turn out like.

Hey. Enthusiasm is a good thing.

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