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A Lakeboat for Picnics
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I designed this small boat for the Workshop Residence with the intention of creating a lightweight and simple boat in which two or three people are able to float on calm water and enjoy something relaxing, like a picnic. Though the fundamental proportions of the boat are influenced by the Barnegat Bay Sneakbox, the design is original and tailored for the Workshop Residence. The design is both relatively simple to build and intended to appeal to a wide range of people beyond the boating and sailing community. The boat is 8'9" on it's waterline with a beam of 3'6-1/2" and a draft of 5". It's a scow with a flat bottom of marine ply and simple three-plank construction. The hull of the boat could be built off of the mold in 3-4 days by an experienced boatbuilder, with installation of sole boards, rub rails, painting etc. bringing the total production time for a single boat to around two weeks. The proposal is not for a one-off boat, but to build the mold for creating a production run of Picnic Boat hulls.
The workshop residence is in San Francisco, but this is not a boat for the choppy waters of SF Bay. The Picnic Boat wants to be out on calm and protected waters; it would be good on a nice lake, or even the Russian River. This lakeboat is designed with a displacement of 380lbs, or about the weight of the boat, two people and a picnic basket, but three people could fit comfortably inside. Transoms at either end of the boat and a flat bottom with no benches give the maximum amount of room to spread out for a leisurely snack with some friends on the water. It could also work as an excellent post-picnic nap space.
The boat is intended to be paddled like a canoe, meaning there is no rigging or even oar locks, keeping construction and operation as simple as possible. This is truly a simple vehicle for being on the water with a friend or two, drinking some wine and enjoying nature. Wood, water, and a tasty meal make excellent companions for anyone to enjoy. The picnic boat is light enough to be handled by one or two people and is easily carried on top of a car and stored out of the water, in a garage or back yard. You don't need any special training or facilities for a small and simple boat like this.
I would like to complete lofting (full scale drawing and pattern making) this summer, and plan to spend the residency constructing a mold which will be used to complete a production run of lake boats, during and after the period of residency. Production time is somewhat extended by the decision to use curved transoms, which are not strictly necessary or economical, but do make a handsome boat. Considering the complex shape of the curved transoms, it might be good to either manufacture a number of these during the residency or contract with a CNC equipped mill to produce them from blocks of wood. This approach would minimize production time.
Budget for materials to construct the mold is small, $200-$300; the rest of the project budget can go directly toward materials for the boats themselves. For a single boat, given the lightweight construction; wood, fasteners and expendables would cost somewhere in the range of $500. This cost can be offset by spending some of the time as a resident milling wood for a production run. I have local sources for coastal douglas fir and pepperwood which could be prepared off-site with an Alaska mill.