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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… firstname.lastname@example.org Best/Roy