Needing a boat for the 2017 Eastern Messabout which was happening in June, I started weighing my options. I had a canoe that I bought on Craigslist in 2016. So browsing on YouTube I wanted to see what I could do with the canoe to make it stable. There were a number of clever options available. Then I happened upon guys who connected two canoes side by side and immediately realized how stable that configuration would be.
A bunch of different ideas were shown. Some were just rough temporary cross members for transporting heavy items by water.
Some had platforms making a pontoon-like boat.
Still others had connected the canoes by using a kit marketed online.
While others had made a deck covering the gap between the hulls. That was my choice.
Obviously, I needed a second canoe. I went to one of my favorite sites, Craigslist looking for an inexpensive fiberglass canoe. I found one near Trenton, New Jersey. I drove there in my pickup and purchased the canoe. But I needed to register it because I wanted to use a motor. That required going to the New Jersey Marine police for an inspection in order to register it. With that done I went to the registry and obtain the title and registration numbers. My trailer needed to be adapted and which was accomplished by using two – two by fours mounted crosswise on the trailer. Also guides were installed at the same time to help line up the new boat when retrieving.
The two canoes were put side by side on the trailer and laid two – 2 by 8s and one 2 x 10 connecting the two canoes. I installed mounting blocks on the sides of the canoes and bolted the cross members to the blocks.
It made a very strong connection because each cross member was attached at four points on each hull. My friend Bob Bigham and I launched the boat to see how she would perform. With Tom Mauer’s 2 horsepower Yamaha she moved along nicely. It was remarkable how stable the new configuration was. We could easily move around the boat, even stand up and not feel at all uncomfortable. Bob was able to fish from the boat both sitting and standing. He remarked how solid she felt while casting.
After a lovely time on the water, I brought the boat home and decided to a make her look a little prettier. Returning to YouTube I wanted to get some ideas to improve the looks of the newly christened RACHIE ROO, named after my granddaughter Rachel.
What I decided to do was to get a bundle of one by twos to connect the hulls at the adjacent gunnels. Before I installed the mid-deck I removed the center 2 by 8 which would no longer be needed. I thought it looked rather snazzy that way so I painted all of the wood. I painted both hulls black. I added a length of 2 x 4 on edge to the rear 2 by 10 to mount the motor upon.
The RACHEL ROO debuted at the Eastern Messabout in Denton, Maryland. She was very well received and she gave lots of rides throughout the weekend. With four adults on board she handled extremely well and I was very pleased with her overall performance. It was obvious that she was handling the load easily.
We used her a lot during the summer and frequently had five or six people on board. Even my wife Sally feels comfortable on board. She is not a water girl. She commented the boat reminded her of how stable our pontoon boat was that we had a few years back.
All in all the RACHIE ROO has been a big hit for boaters and non-boaters alike. Every time I take her out on the water I receive very nice compliments. She has exceeded all of my expectations!
WHAT NEXT FOR RACHIE ROO? The two hulls open up other possibilities to consider. The following are some other nice configurations and layouts for two hulls. The first one was used above but I like it so much I wanted to include it again. I dearly miss my 20 ft pontoon boat. So this is a possible next rendition.
Shell boats are always interesting to me. Having an enclosed cabin for cruising really appeals to me. It is fun to “think outside of the box”, you should try it!