DIANNE’S ROSE, Shanty/Camp/Houseboat DIANNE’S ROSE is now complete and the readers of Small Craft Advisor may welcome an update. In issue 81 of SCA, I wrote how my wife was the inspiration behind this design. Dianne encouraged me to build her a more comfortable boat (nothing tippy please), while I still wanted to be able to access the wild locations I had always enjoyed in our beach cruising sailboat, and did I mention all this needed to be done affordably! To give you an example of how this has worked out, we recently accessed the upper reaches of our local Nottawasaga River where there is a large swamp. We had to zig and zag around fallen trees in an attempt to squeeze past another “pinch”, the chance to go boating through a flooded forest with it’s out of this world beauty was the draw. I pushed on, in spite of Dianne’s concerns that we may not make it. With a strong current running due to recent rains, we bumped logs and scraped branches but made it, finding a great spot to enjoy the night. This season we’ve made it to many wild destinations, and while doing so, DIANNE’S ROSE has kept us dry in rain, cool under the hot sun, safe during storms and warm when the snow was on the river banks. Thanks to this unique boat I’ve had my share of adventure and Dianne has been comfortable and safe even if the paint was not. Our boating season officially started with the launch on June 15, 2013. We saw about 30 well-wishers out to support us and it even made front page news locally. Our friends were given river tours and at one point our craft easily handled twelve, all finding a seat! While we had a test launch the previous fall, the boat was incomplete so many questions about its capabilities remained. The answers were gradually revealed after this season of exploring Georgian Bay and its many surrounding waterways and of course I was hoping for bonus points if Dianne liked it too! An important feature that has worked very well is having a boat that can be trailered. Weighing in at 1500lbs empty, 2000lbs with gear, fuel, water, etc. a six cylinder Safari Van manages the job. We pay no marina or storage fees and can explore near or far! Our first trip was far but the weather was not good. It would be on these types of trips we found the boat excelled. While in the past bad weather meant canceling, we continued on, traveling at highway speeds we made our way north to Six Mile Lake. Once launched (the rain continuing) we found ourselves alone on the lake but secure inside our cabin, needing only the correct combination of windows opened or closed to enjoy a dry luxurious ride in what would normally be a miserable day on the water! I had planned to keep the side windows fixed but liking the open feel on our test run, where there were no windows at all, I changed my mind and made the front four of the six side windows open. After exploring on the lake we arrived where I hoped to spend our first night onboard. We first needed to maneuver down a long narrow channel, “Lost Channel”, which had a “One Tree Island” seeming to stand guard in the middle. Cautiously passing, we entered where few others could, into a secluded lagoon. I tied up to a tree for the night, getting wet and with bugs biting the whole time. Retreating back inside as quickly as possible, where Dianne had wisely stayed, we effectively shut out our pesky neighbours. It was a relief to have no tent to set up, instead the boat became our cozy cabin. Hardly claustrophobic, with all the windows (screens in some), we enjoyed the full view of our lush surroundings! An hour before dark the rain stopped and the sky cleared. We had a simple supper of hot soup and toasted sandwiches from our galley. There was just enough room on the back deck for two to sit and fish, a fun after dinner activity. It felt like we were at the end of a cottage dock. With only the smartest mosquitos managing to find their way back to us, we stayed out long enough to catch two small bass. Back inside, curtains Dianne had sewed were snapped in place, the Queen sized bed was set up (bigger actually), we brushed our teeth and settled in for the night. The only light came from stars seen through our skylights and a candle lamp used as a night light and to keep out the night’s dampness. Dianne commented how quiet the night was and how solid the boat felt. I lay unable to sleep but very content. I was in disbelief that a dream, which had taken four years from my first sketch to completion was finally here and the finished work now cradled us (two years passed before I could free time to build)! In the morning I was pleased to hear Dianne had slept well. We washed up, the kitchenette becoming the bathroom vanity, took down the curtains, returned the bed setup to its usual two couch formation, and enjoyed fish and eggs for breakfast. The rest of the trip was great, we had better weather, met up with friends and even ran some rapids. This trip now under our belt, DIANNE’S ROSE seemed to be living up to my expectations. Even better Dianne was now booking some of our outings, a complete change from the past. The adventures continued and the boat continued to display her capabilities. This Shanty Boat is intended to provide a comfortable steady ride. I wanted to power her with a 9.9 HP, four stoke, high thrust, but a 9.8 two stroke was in the budget and has served well even though I broke it off at a launch site (forgot to raise the motor). This turned out to be a good test of the transom’s strength, which was not damaged! Some may want more HP and up to 40 HP can be used! More is not needed! Sailors seem to see the sense in the smaller motor as it manages hull speed at ¾ throttle, 6mph, and sips its fuel keeping our adventuring affordable. My thinking is we get to our wild destinations fast enough at highway speeds and once we arrive we have no need to see the beautiful scenery go by in a blur! Shallow draft is another great feature, at only 6” including the bottom’s runners, it is what allows our Camp Boat to get in places where many are kept out. The hull’s shape curves up at the bow and has a flat run, four foot wide, to the stern. Its two foot, side sections “V” to the hull’s sides so it is not a complete barge hull. These combined features give us light draw and a very nice ride. This was handy on another trip near Pointe Au Baril, where a bad thunder and lightning storm kicked up large waves out on the lake. Enough chop made it into the nearby sheltered bay, that the boats anchored there were having a rough night. We slept through most of this storm, lulled to sleep by the steady rain that softened the sound of the thunder. Because we were tucked high into the creek feeding this bay, we were completely sheltered from wind and waves. Drawing more depth, we would have been bouncing around with everyone else. Such a scary night would have given my wife a good reason not to like boating! Some have the impression this boat is only for calm water yet shallow draft does not always translate into poor sea keeping (within reason)! Later that morning we continued our journey, setting out in a wind warning with still rough waters, having no problems. Again the rare boat on the water (some may have been catching up on their sleep). Confidence in DIANNE’S ROSE comes from solid construction, high freeboard, divided hull compartments and a cabin that can be locked shut, keeping the water out! Not being overpowered also minimizes slamming as she’s not running on top of the waves but stays planted like a displacement hull. At seventeen feet long with an eight foot beam, she doesn’t deal with two large waves at once. She is light and buoyant enough to bob over bigger waves, while has enough weight to punch through smaller chop, smoothing out the ride. I tested her in larger, three to four foot braking waves to prove this point, while there was lots of spray not one wave came over the deck and she maneuvered well on all points! To be clear, I don’t intend to use her in extremes but want to be confident in her ability to handle some rough waters. Shallow draft has also let us pull up to shore where we can step off with dry feet! We routinely travel where only tin fishing boats or canoes can go, further expanding our cruising options. I hoped to achieve my design goals and include good looks! Others seem to agree that DIANNE’S ROSE is not an ugly duckling. Its appearance has been described as something out of the Forty’s. We are approached at gas stations, boat ramps, beaches and camp grounds (it doubles as our camper) where we’ve had a constant stream of compliments. The creature comforts surprise the many who have asked to have a closer look. They’ve been so happy with the tour that gifts of two anchors, homemade honey and countless beverages have come our way, often leaving us a little dizzy! The interior seen is one where spaces perform dual function. Two couches, facing each other, make up the living space. We sit on the forward ends to drive. Storage shelves under the decks morph into our dining table and extra seats. We’ve dined six here for a lobster meal with room to spare. The Queen bed, I mentioned earlier, is made up by dropping the table. Couches can also remain as bunks if Dianne gets tired of my shenanigans! A tightly stretched hammock is added when our son decides to join us (he’s seventeen). Tenting in the front deck could accommodate small children as one would with a pop up trailer! Our Camp Boat has a small but comfortable enclosed head. We use a Porta Potty in summer and Composting Toilet in colder months. Jackets are hung inside on hooks so this space is also a closet. Beach towels dry in the door’s opening to provide privacy and by sliding the toilet under the rear deck, room is made to change out of wet bathing suits. The galley has a small sink with a cutting board cover, room for a portable propane cook stove and we still have leftover space to prep meals. We purchased a good quality cooler that doubles as a coffee table. If the weather is good we can set up cooking ashore, which suits our camp cruising philosophy. The storage under the cabinet is huge and below the bunks and the decks have more room than we’ve needed for all our gear! Construction was completed over two years of weekends from spring to fall as winters shut me down. A good attitude to have during a build is that the two years will come regardless so might as well have something to show for it! Keeping track, about 700hrs went into the build, but I worked only from a sketch and did extra work documenting the steps so I could offer plans. I drew full scale sections, spent time debating the best way to do things, which I often changed. A good example, I canvased the center of the roof as a test, leaving it for the winter. By spring it had wrinkled and it was obvious fiberglass would work better! With plans in hand to avoid the hic ups, 600hrs is a realistic build time. Cost is also a little tricky to nail down. I spent about $5000 including the used trailer but not the new motor. I bought the best material I could afford but also free cycled what I could as I did not have an unlimited budget. The cost could be more or less depending on your choices and your luck! I have not since seen as nice a steering wheel as the teak one in my boat, which I found for only $65 in a country antique store, very lucky! Build more to the “Shanty” end of the scale, it could end up very cheap by salvaging much of the material. I wanted to show off a little but avoided expense when possible. Using screen door knobs at $18 each rather than $180 for marine grade is another example. Costs are also spread out over the build so they did not feel overwhelming. I thank my friends, who often dropped by to check on progress, making the build feel even less like work. It became a party boat long before it was in the water! My son helped and I also owe a thanks to Pat Riley who did a great job sanding, etc. Of course I could not have started or finished without Dianne’s support! It was very worthwhile doing! An exciting addition to extend our too short, Canadian season, is a homemade portable “jet” wood stove. With this we’ve been out in hail and snow with our cabin being toasty warm! It’s nice to enjoy the beauty of a snow storm without getting cold. This has become an important upgrade that doubles our usual three month boating season! I’m not sure my reluctant boating wife knew what she was getting into when she inspired me to design a more comfortable boat but so far so good and yes there have been bonus points! I am offering “Study Plans” (which have made their way around the world, Belarus, Australia, Finland, Great Britain, US and Canada) and “Full Plans” are now ready if you are interested in something a little different! I can be contacted by e-mail at… email@example.com Best/Roy
DIANNE’S ROSE is a small “Tiny” if you will, House/Shanty/Camp boat that my wife, Dianne Roselee, inspired me to design. She never liked the “tippy” side of sailing and one day commented she’d come out more if we had a comfortable boat. This 17’ X 8’ beam, houseboat is the result. Needing only 6” to float, it is perfect for sneaking into shallow coves and pulling up to isolated beaches - a feature we enjoyed in our beach cruising sailboat. A refined barge hull was the solution needed to achieve this draft and the accommodations for Dianne’s comfort. This hull shape also does not limit us to protected waters and has proven quite sea worthy! The cabin, 8’ X 10’, has areas that preform dual function (or more). There are two couches, 62” long, facing each other, that serve as lounge, driver’s seat, dinning and sleeping areas. We have a queen-sized bed when filler boards are in place! These boards morph into the dining table and additional seats and then again into the steps and storage shelves under the decks. There is a small bathroom on the left rear side, 32” X 36”, with full standing headroom. The composting toilet (which does not smell) can slide under the rear deck to create a private changing room. This space is also our coat closet. A kitchenette is on the opposite side, with a propane camp stove (this way we can also cook outside). The space under the rear deck is utilized as a pantry and cooler for food storage. Hang a privacy curtain across the aisle, and the back of the boat becomes a full bathroom. Toilet, sink and bathing. Set up camp style of course, using a basin to stand in and a pitcher to wet and rinse. Hot water provided from a heated pot or solar bag! The front, 4’ X 8’, and back, 28” X8’ decks add livability to the small cabin. Storage is below these porches and the rear porch carries fuels, gas and propane (fuel boxes to come and they will double as benches to sit and fish). The front porch could be tented in to provide additional sleeping space similar to “pop-up” tent trailers. This could make a small family comfortable on extended outings! The boat has had some unforeseen uses at home on its trailer (saving marina costs), as a “man cave,” guest house, and a second bathroom. DIANNE’S ROSE was launched June 15th, 2013, so we’ll get to know her better, but she is already making us very happy. The small size has been a large part of the fun! Our motor is small as well, a 9.8 hp outboard. Fuel costs are not a worry and will not interfere with our enjoyment of the beautiful scenery as it passes by at a steady 6 mph (3/4 throttle). Building DIANNE’S ROSE is straight forward as I designed her construction to be very basic but strong! Flat panels are first assembled on a bench. These panels slip together “egg carton” style or are just butt joined with epoxy and screws. Ply hull panels are then bent on to the frames, marked and cut with no complicated measurements to calculate! The hull combines “stich and glue” with “frame” construction using each where they are most advantageous! The roof appears difficult but is not hard with templates provided. The curve is broken into three manageable sections and T&G planks follow the shape easily, creating a strong but light structure when fiberglass is added. The sound of hard rain lulls us to sleep with this wood/glass canopy! This boat takes about 600hrs to build so does require commitment. I personally know it has many rewards along the way, the mile stones come one by one, encouraging you to push on. Turning the hull is a big one. Friends visit to see our progress, some bring useful materials, others even help build! On occasion a boat party breaks out and no work gets done at all, but this is just part of the fun! As I see it, time passes regardless, this “Tiny” Houseboat will give you something to show for it! Best/Roy
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat? What better way to start a discussion on the subject of rowing! Although “just” a child’s song, one I think most of you will know, it depicts what fun it is to be merrily rowing, gently down a stream! While it does ignore the hard work of rowing upstream, there is still a life lesson in there somewhere. I’m on the subject because I decided to make a set of 10 foot ash oars for DIANNE’S ROSE so she could be a “true” Shanty Boat! I hoped to leisurely guide her downstream without the noise and cost of the outboard. Maybe we’ll even drift down the mighty Mississippi one day! I will not throw away the Iron Lung but keep it for the upstream legs! There are also lakes where engines are forbidden and a leisurely row could place your “Cabin in the Woods” in paradise lost! Also if that new motor we bought gets old and quits, we have a real chance getting somewhere safe without making it a big deal! Rowing fell out of favour this past century as motors became more powerful and reliable (not mine so much, but I remain optimistic!). Time progressed and hull shapes mattered less, you could just get a bigger motor to push your wedge through the water, why bother designing an efficient hull. Yeah, I’m not a fan of today’s plastic! I may risk losing half my readers but I suspect many of you agree. Truth is, today’s boat hulls simply can’t be designed for rowing. They need to support ever increasing weight and horsepower. While rowing could still move a powerboat to safety when the motor fails, safety regulations typically require only a single paddle as a backup! Why is that? This is a joke waiting to be played on anyone trying to paddle a motor boat any distance in wind, wave or current! Most people therefore dismiss human power altogether as a practical option. We may also be in too much a hurry and have forgotten that “life is but a dream”! Times change and I believe more efficient hulls and even rowing are making a comeback. Gas prices are a factor but we are slowly realizing life goes by too fast and there are special places where slowing things down a bit makes better sense. Being on the water, in nature’s back yard is one such place! When I designed our Shanty Boat, DIANNE’S ROSE, the plan was to mount a trolling motor on the bow, to maneuver in shallow waters, like fishing boats do. It was also going to serve as back up to the Big Push. I’ve predictably changed my mind as a romantic image of Old Shanty Boats sunk deeper into my brain (my best ideas need time to percolate, another reason to slow down!). Last season, while using our newly built Camp Boat I had the chance to experiment sculling from the bow, managing to move her around quite easily to new fishing spots. A loop of rope on the middle, front cleat, secured the shaft of a single oar. Worked back and forth, twisting the blade on each stroke it pull the boat forward. Working better than expected, I was convinced a good set of oars would work better still. I was fortunate a neighbour had a cracked Ash tree, a while back, needing to be cut down. I struck a deal to do the work for free if I could have the wood. A portable mill cut it into 1” and 2” planks. I used it for the boat’s flooring, runners and rub rails. It would also be the perfect wood for the oars. The wood had been air dried, better than kiln dried, which makes wood brittle, air dried maintains the woods flexibility so is ideal. But as always use what you have if you want to make yourself a set. I created a cool jig to turn the handles down to 1 3/4” radius (a router bit could also be used to knock off the corners and hand tools could finish the round). My system involved a strong drill (old with a broken switch), a 2”hole saw, a shaper and a wooden jig. The jig was key, made of plywood it allowed the square stock to be turned with the drill through a large diameter hole (to fit the 2 X 2” block). The hole saw, having screws into the wood through its slots, prevented it from slipping as the blank was spun and moved forward into the spinning shaper blades. This cut away the corners leaving a round shaft. The back part of the jig had two more holes spaced apart to receive the finished 1 3/4" rounded stock. In theory these two holes would tame any vibration! Well not so much! We ruined the first attempt because the stock was so out of balance it almost shook my arms off! It didn’t help that I had to plug my drill into a power bar to turn it off and on. I was in trouble because I had walked past the power bar that sat on the floor so couldn’t reach its switch. My helper, Ben, “helped” and unplugged me before things got too exciting! Our first blank had good sections so we proceeded, learning from Ben’s error (blame is important in woodworking!), this time I selected straighter material. Success!!! If I had to make more than two oars, I’m confident we would be able to perfect the jig and cutters to get perfect results every time. Needing only two, I was happy to do a little planning and sanding. The last 2’ were left square, to epoxy on more ash for the blades. When cured the blades were cut thin on the band saw and shaped. The previously mentioned jig was also used for the handles but with a router instead of the shaper. Again some hand work was required. This process too could be perfected. Another cool jig was used to finish sand the shafts. Using an inside-out belt from a belt sander. The blades after band sawing thinner were further shaped using a power plane, spoke shave, belt sander and then a random orbital sander. Wow, we had a beautiful set of oars! They became more beautiful when they were oiled (1 part RAW Linseed Oil/1 part Turpentine). Allow it to soak overnight, then wipe with a rag to remove excess oil (dispose of the rag safely). Three coats of varnish and since I like the look of painted tips we did this as the varnish cured. That’s it! I was so excited with the results I thought I’d let you all know about it. Since we’re all friends now. I will tell you that when my son was young I would sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat for his bed time. I made up a bunch of verses to stretch it out hoping he’d fall asleep. Row, Row, Row your boat gently down the Ditch. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life can be a “blank”! For my young sons ears I’d simply click my tongue to finish this verse. Row, row, row your boat gently down the Creek. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life will make you speak! Row, row, row your boat gently down the Stream…you all know this verse. Row, row, row your boat gently across the Bay. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, what is you have to say? Row, row, row your boat gently across the Lake. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, be careful for goodness sake! Row, row, row your boat gently across the Sea. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, to see what you can see! Row, row, row your boat gently across an Ocean. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, that’d be quite the notion! There you have it, I’ll spare you my many verses of “Incy Wincy Spider” but as a teaser I will tell you the last verse has tickles from foot to head but the poor spider ends up dead(… Best/Roy
I’m not boating yet this spring so I go cross country skiing
instead. On my outings I like to cross over a swampy area but it’s becoming very wet and today I broke through and got completely soaked! My wet feet brought to mind a conversation with my mother. At my last visit we were discussing how spring is taking forever to arrive. She went on to tell me how she needed to slap my bottom as a child when the spring melt started to flow. It seems I liked to get close to running water and would end up with soaked boots (as I did today) and more often I would fall in completely. I didn’t have a bad mother, her concern was for my health as I was prone to high fevers when sick…I’m also confident she did not want to see me drowned! Getting started in boats for me was not just the love of boats but this irresistible draw to water! I was hooked on boats early when I realized in one I had a chance to stay dry. Life is busy and I’m not 100% in control so my story of the boats in my life is often about the boats that where easy to access at that particular stage of life (always ones that are extremely affordable)! In the beginning all I needed was a blue plastic toy boat, towed by a string to give me hours of fun and as mentioned pink cheeks!
Growing up in an environment with rivers and lakes nearby was helpful! Encouraging family members would also have been beneficial but here I think I was on my own! I grew up in Wasaga Beach, the longest fresh water beach in the world on the southern end of Georgian Bay. The Notawasaga River flows into this bay and meanders for miles with wild sections to explore in the upper reaches. At twelve, I wanted more than a toy. Saving my money, I managed to buy an aluminum canoe. It was a “fire” sale and smelt of smoke so the price was right. 12’ Long, it was wide with riveted seams. These made their own wakes as I paddled. With foam flotation down the sides (a little melted), it would float not sink, a feature my mother approved of! I loved the fake birch bark look and the decal of a proud Native Chief on the bow! I later even used pine sap to slow a leak in one of those riveted seams! My Dad came with me on my first trip. I remember how excited I was to see around each new bend and the disappointment at having to turn back. My teenage years have many stories of trips with friends up our local river. This was an ideal place to learn, having rapids that were kind to novices and a small lake where if the wind blew strong enough we’d use a tarp and branches to devise sails. In its upper reaches there was an extensive swamp where we’d get lost and not care as there was so much to see. One spring in high water a friend and I canoed up to the front door of an old homestead. I realized that for some the water destroyed dreams! For me it opened up endless possibilities. I loved how most of our river was wild and camping was free! I still seek out these wilds places and feel oppressed when I have to pay to camp! On another trip, the spring runoff deposited an old 14’ cedar strip boat in amongst flooded trees. I broke my paddle trying to right the upside down boat still filled with water. It sat in 6” of water but must have been there when the water was much deeper, to turn her we needed to brake the suction like when lifting a glass out of a sink bottom up, and no more paddles (try it and you’ll feel the weight of the water in the glass). It took a large branch and all our strength to get the air to slurp into the hull but it was soon turned. I was now the co-owner of real boat and was introduced to wooden boat repairs and maintenance. This boat unfortunately ended up as a planter in our garden, a shame because my friend and I did not know better when we glassed her bottom, which doomed her to rot. Slowly my education in wooden boat construction began!
Boating took a back seat to college, then marriage, as the now famous Dianne Roselee blessed my life. We decided to build our own house, no contractors, doing so as we earned the money. 2X4s weren’t cheap. Selling a motorcycle helped some and unfortunately my canoe too was sold. A few years went by where I was boatless: (! I did eventually get a discarded canoe from my buddy Mike Matthews, helping to rekindle my boating dreams. The wooden parts were rotted so I reworked the whole canoe, decking her and using it more like a kayak so Cleopatra (Dianne) could simply sit comfortably up front watching the scenery go by, yes I’ll admit she dipped her paddle on occasion!
My wife blames my old childhood friend for my interest in boating and sailing in particular but she did not take into account my past addictions. Mike is an amazing sailor, able to launch from a beach with high surf. He took me out in these conditions but being a canoer I had no idea our lives were in danger as we sailed through the large breaking waves. My job was simply to balance the boat and handle the Jib. Since his sailboat was wider than a canoe I felt quite safe even when waves submerged my hiked out body. The trill of the speed and being powered by just the wind was inspiring, no paddling! Things got more exciting when the centerboard snapped. We were far from the beach and had been surfing over 4 to 6 foot braking waves, literally flying at times when this happened. Everything fell apart very quickly! The rudder popped off, I lost the jib sheet, the main swung out and we spun to an out of control, scary downwind run. By instinct I grabbed one of the two paddles, Mike quickly grabbed the other and we both braced on opposite sides to keep the boat from broaching as we surfed down a succession of waves. It was a miracle we made it to shore but I was hooked nonetheless. I had to have a sailboat! Dianne still hasn’t forgiven him!
Mike helped me check into my next boat, a rundown 1955 cedar planked Olympic Star. We were at the back of a farmer’s field. Dianne came along but she stayed in the vehicle, plainly not impressed! The tarp was torn and ice filled much of the hull as it was just early spring. I was interested in Sharpies and even with an eight hundred pound keel attached I saw the potential for a shallow draft Beach Cruiser. The price was $500 and someone was coming out to see it later so if I wanted it the price was firm (that was the farmer’s line). I gave him his money and became the proud owner of Whisper. I altered her to have a center board for shoal draft, added a small cabin to sleep in, enlarged the cock pit for comfort and arranged for a 5hp motor to move us along when the wind failed. She also could be rowed when the wind and motor failed (there is a long story why I don’t trust motors and it’s also Mikes fault)! I looked forward to having a cozy cabin on this boat. I remember on a fishing trip with a family friend, freezing on the long trip home when a rainstorm caught us out far from shelter. This would now be avoided. We enjoyed this boat for many years and had many adventures in her but Dianne was always a timid sailor (nothing tippy please!). She was fine on day trips when I motored most of the time but wasn’t comfortable overnight or at any angle greater than 0 degrees! I worked in my adventures with a “guys” trip! We managed to see most of Georgian Bay this way and found many special places that I wished Dianne could see.
I designed several sailboats planning to address her concerns, even
started building one when she asked me to rethink (it would have been awesome!). “Build me something more comfortable and I’ll come out with you more often”. Taking the hint because I wanted her company, I changed gears, setting aside my interest in sailing and designed and built DIANNE’S ROSE a “mini” Shanty/Camp/Houseboat (see previous stories). She’s been a great success, getting lots of attention in part because of her unique concept that comfort and small size can be combined without excluding adventure! The years of accumulated experience on the water helped me design her but also I had learned by designing and building a dinghy years earlier. I wanted to test a construction method I planned to use in my future sailboats. I did ultimately use this in our houseboat construction. You’ve surely heard that if you plan to build a boat, build the dinghy first! In this way you can see if boat building suits you and if not, you’ve not wasted too much time or money! At the time I planned to get right on to the “BIG” boat (to take us across oceans) but work, money and time conspired against me and 14 years went by before I would build. In that time I developed an appreciation for smaller boats, in part because of the fun we had with our Beach Cruiser and the dinghy. Time and money are still an issue so DIANNE’S ROSE is welcome in our lives as she does not demand too much from us. Many larger boats demand too much money and maintenance from their owners. A good friend sold his boat this season for this very reason. He still wants to be out on the water but in a simpler way!
My future looks promising. I’m redesigning that little dinghy as she was a great boat! But after 14yrs of use I see some improvements I could make. It will still be powered with an electric trolling motor, batteries under the full length bench. It will still row well and sail. I’m improving her shape and including a dagger board instead of the lee board, so she will sail better. Although it can be carried on your shoulder, I have removable wheels but want to arrange a wider version so soft sand is less difficult to cross. The oars will act as wheelbarrow handles! I plan to offer kits and plans when finished. With a little luck in the future I will build some of my other designs as they would also make great boats. I have their “cartoons” on a shop bulletin board to inspire me! One that I could even cross oceans in! As for DIANNE’S ROSE she’s just waiting for spring to fully arrive and then Dianne Roselee and I will be out and about enjoying her! For now though, my ski boots have been drying by the fire so I can try my luck again getting across that swamp. Best/Roy